City to partner with local restaurants, Forgotten Harvest on “Food Rescue” program to put surplus food to use

  • City sets up centralized process for restaurants to donate surplus food so it doesn’t go to waste during business slowdown or shutdown
  • Donations that meet quality standards to be distributed by local agencies
  • Donations will provide a helpful tax deduction for businesses


The City of Detroit is partnering with Forgotten Harvest and Detroit restaurants to “rescue” surplus food that otherwise might go to waste during the COVID-19 outbreak and provide to local area agencies for residents in need.  Not only will the donations help families in need, they also will support participating businesses financially by unlocking tax deductions.

Starting today, the Food Rescue program is being offered to interested restaurants with surplus food waste & ability to transport to nearby agencies.  Organizers are looking for surplus food that will perish due to closure of restaurants in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Businesses interested in participating can find more information and fill out a signup form here.  After filling out the form, businesses will receive email instructions directing them to a nearby receiving agency and details on how to track their donation.

Restaurants with over 500lbs of food to donate are eligible to coordinate pick up by Forgotten Harvest and should indicated on sign up form. Restaurants with donations available under 500 lbs but are unable to coordinate transport should also indicate on sign up form, delivery assistance will be coordinated.

“These are unprecedented times and we need to find creative solutions to all work together and support those in our community that are most in need,” said Charity Dean, Director of the City’s Department of Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity.  “This approach works for everyone.  It helps get food to those who need it and it helps businesses get rid of surplus food and support their bottom line by receiving a tax credit.”


Acceptable Food Rescue Donations

  • Prepared food that is:
    • Prepared less than 4 days from today’s date
    • In foil pan with either secured foil lid or covered in film wrap with foil on top
    • Properly labeled
    • Properly cooled
  • Perishable/non-prepared food must be refrigerated at 41°F or below
  • Any non-perishable food with labels and packaging intact

Food that cannot be donated

  • Food that is open, left out for sampling or not properly cooled
  • Any fish or seafood (raw or frozen)
  • Uncooked or unfrozen protein
  • Open cut produce
  • Non-frozen prepared food that is 4 days or older