Frequently Asked Questions
The Grocery Rescue program links Food Lifeline and our member agencies with local retail grocers that make daily donations of extra food and household items for hungry people.
Donations from all major food departments within the store are set aside for Food Lifeline and member agencies to pick up, and most major retail chains in Western Washington are donating through this program.
Retailers need to make sure there is always product on the shelves for their customers, so having more product than they can actually sell is pretty standard. These extra food and grocery items are extremely helpful for the hungry people we serve. Less often, retailers will overstock or have surplus seasonal product.
Food Lifeline has drivers who gather donations five days per week. Over 170 of our member agencies also collect food from these retailers on their own as a Grocery Rescue “partner.” There are a large number of trained staff and volunteers who collect the food to then sort and distribute to hungry people in local communities.
All staff and volunteers are trained on safe food handling, and the lead person at each partner agency is required to have a food handler’s permit. Retail stores and partner agencies are within a 30-minute drive of each other, and thermal insulated blankets are used when a refrigerated vehicle is not available for perishable items.
Once the food is picked up, Food Lifeline and our partner agencies conduct a thorough sort of the food at various sites with the help of our generous volunteers. The food and grocery items are then distributed to individuals and families in need.
Retail stores interested in supporting the Grocery Rescue program can contact Food Lifeline to discuss a donation of food. Volunteers are always appreciated for assistance with administrative needs, food sorting, and food-repack projects. Financial contributions are particularly valuable to ensuring this continued service, and 96 cents of every $1 donated goes directly toward procuring and distributing food.