Extra food? Donate to help others.
Donating healthy food for others diverts food waste from landfills and puts food on the table for families in need. Anyone can donate food! There are many ways to help if you're a farmer, distributor, wholesaler, retailer, restaurant owner, hunter, and everyday family. One in 10 people in Illinois struggle with hunger every day, including one in eight children. If you have extra, you can help put food on the table for those in need. We're here to help.
The Illinois Deer Donation Program provides a pathway to expand community access to lean protein throughout East-Central Illinois and reduce barriers to healthier lifestyles. This program connects meat processors, hunters, and food pantries in 12 central Illinois counties.
Shelf-stable foods include a variety of canned, bottled, boxed, and bagged foods. For food safety reasons, do not donate:
- Foods that are past or very close to their self-by, best-by, or use-by dates
- Canned goods with deep dents, rusted metal, bulging metal, or dents along seams
- Foods that need freezing or refrigeration
Check with your local food pantries and food banks to learn about their policies on accepting fresh fruits and vegetables.
Illinois Department of Agriculture considers food pantries a retail location. For private citizens to donate eggs from backyard chickens, citizens need an egg licensure.
Donate Food Scraps (for Composting)
Businesses and community organizations may have pick-up and drop-off food scrap services to use in composting.
Help Others Find Food
Use the Find Food IL map to find places in your community offering free food or meals. You can also find stores and markets that accept SNAP/LINK or WIC coupons. Plus, see the DHS or WIC office nearest to you.