Reed Bill Seeks to Increase Food Bank Donations
Tom Reed was in Elmira at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier Tuesday to introduce his Fighting Hunger Incentive Act. Reed’s bill incentivizes restaurants, grocery stores, farmers and other businesses to contribute their excess inventory to local food banks and pantries by permanently extending the food inventory donation tax provision that expired at the end of last year. Reed’s bill provides a tax deduction over the cost of the goods if the food is donated to a charitable organization.
“In their time of need, families often turn to local food banks and pantries to put food on the table,” Reed said. “It’s only right and fair that we help local food banks care for our neighbors. By making this tax provision permanent, we will increase food donations and see that more families have access to the food they need. We are happy to promote legislation that brings together businesses and charitable groups to care for those in need in our community.”
Congress temporarily expanded the provision in 2006 and according to the Food Donation Connection, donations have increased 127 percent since the 2006 expanded tax deduction. That temporary expansion expired at the end of 2013. Without Reed’s bill, it is cheaper in most cases for these types of businesses to throw their food away than it is to donate the food. The Fighting Hunger Incentive Act would make the tax provision permanent, allowing more businesses and farmers to take advantage of making food donations.
“Instead of wasting perfectly good food, it’s common sense to care for and feed our neighbors in need,” Reed continued. “Giving businesses, restaurants and farmers greater opportunities to donate their excess food brings these groups together for a positive cause and also reduces waste in landfills.”
According to the USDA, more than 130 billion pounds of food went uneaten in 2010. Reed’s bill seeks to capture food that would otherwise be wasted by providing a tax deduction over the cost of goods sold if the food is donated to a charitable organization. This provision helps offset the additional costs of packing and transporting the food for donation.
Tom Reed was joined Tuesday at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier by food bank employees and volunteers, members of the Farm Bureau, local producers and businesses that make an effort to donate their excess food.
Food Bank of the Southern Tier President and CEO Natasha Thompson said, “The food donation tax deduction provides a valuable and needed incentive that encourages small businesses to donate nutritious food to local food banks. Over 60% of the food distributed by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier is donated by manufacturers, retailers, and growers but unfortunately the supply is simply not keeping up with the staggering rate of demand in our community. It is absolutely critical that Congress include this important giving incentive in tax reform legislation that will ultimately help food banks across the U.S. realize the goal of building and sustaining hunger free communities.”
“This important change to the tax code goes to the heart of why we farm. Farmers are in the business of feeding people, and through Congressman Reed’s diligent effort, this would assist farms in providing fresh food to low-income New Yorkers who may need help putting dinner on the table,” said Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau President.
Cinthia Johnson, Olive Garden General Manager in Horseheads said, “Olive Garden is committed to making a difference in the lives of others. We do this in a number of ways, including the donation of surplus, wholesome food to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier as well as other food banks in the communities Olive Garden serves across the country. We support this legislation wholeheartedly because it underscores our commitment to community involvement and it will encourage other restaurants to donate much needed food to community organizations.”