Truck Drivers in Indiana Can Now Donate Rejected Food Shipments

Usable food will now be used to feed the hungry instead of being dumped into landfills.


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Indiana truck drivers can take part in a new initiative that will save them money and allow them to donate rejected food shipments to feed hungry people. Now instead of dumping edible food, it can be donated to charity.

When truck drivers go to unload their food products at supermarkets, there is always a chance that the load will be rejected. This can happen if the product is not considered perfect, apples that are too small, peaches that are bruised or misshaped or it can have nothing to do with the quality or appearance of the order. There could be an ordering mistake or a delay in the delivery.

When food is rejected by supermarkets, truckers on a tight schedule often have no choice but to pay to dump the rejected shipments in landfills. This has resulted in tons of edible food being dumped into landfills, according to the Indy Hunger Network (IHN). But that doesn’t have to happen in Indiana anymore.

The IHN created their Food Drop Program as a trial in 2017 in Indianapolis. The connected truck drivers with local food banks that were able to accept large truckloads and had long hours. The foodbanks helped to offload the food for the truckers and gave the truckers a tax deduction for the donated goods. The drivers didn't have to pay the landfills, and the food was used to feed hungry Hoosiers (one in seven people in Indiana are food insecure, including 300,000 children).

On any day, 1 million trucks will pass through Indiana, according to the Indiana Motor Truck Association. That's a lot of freight being hauled and a lot of potential donations.

The trail was a complete success. Almost 90,000 pounds of food was donated within the first six months according to IHN. The initiative was expanded to include more food banks and more locations across the state are being planned.

There is a map of locations on the Food Drop website. Truck drivers just have to find a location and call ahead. Dry, refrigerated, and frozen foods both bulk and packaged are accepted. The food products have to have unbroken seals and original labeling with ingredients and expiration dates.

The Indy Hunger Network has partnered with the Indiana Motor Truck Association, the Merchandise Warehouse, Sysco Indianapolis, and nine other agencies to help alleviate hunger in Indiana.

One of the agencies is the Midwest Food Bank, which works with food pantries all across the state. John Whitaker, Midwest Food Bank’s executive director told the Indy Star, “It really just worked on my heart to see people in need all over our community.” He added, “They couldn’t get the basic necessities of life.” He was very excited to work with the rejected food donations.

The participating agencies are charged a low amount, $100 each, and they absorb the costs of the extra staffing needed. Food Drop began with a $10,000 investment, and IHN is paying all the program's operation and marketing costs.

IHN is working on expanding the program throughout the entire state. They hope that it can grow into a national program. This partnership between food transporters and agencies that feed the hungry is a win/win for the people of Indiana.

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