Do Your Part!
Weddings often generate recyclable materials and leftover food that the newlyweds don’t want to take home. Nowadays, you and the caterer can feel good by donating the excess, and recycling plastic bottles, glass, metal and paper. An added benefit is that food donations are tax deductible for either you or the caterer. And if you recycle, the cost for extra garbage containers (bins) can be eliminated or reduced. To recycle, call your local recycling center to arrange a pickup.
Food donations are distributed to teenage drop-in centers, youth shelters, alcoholic treatment centers, AIDS hospices, senior centers, refugee centers and even animal rescue centers throughout the U.S.
IMPORTANT: There are regulations that apply to the kinds of foods that can be donated and how they need to be packaged. If you plan to donate your leftovers, it’s best to talk to your caterer about it or call your local food bank prior to your event to find out what their requirements for preparation and drop-off are.
Here are some national resources to find a food bank, shelter or animal rescue center near you:
- Feeding America: Find Your Local Food Bank
- Rescuing Leftover Cuisine: Donate Food
- Homeless Shelter Directory: Find Homeless Shelters
- Women's Shelters: Find Shelters for Women
- ASPCA: Find an Animal Shelter
And since we're local to California, we’ve provided a list of some well-known California food banks—but you can also look online to find others that may be more convenient for you.
Northern California Donation Organizations
- Food Runners—San Francisco, 415/929-1866
- Food Bank—Marin County, 415/883-1302
- Second Harvest—San Mateo/Santa Clara Counties, 650/610-0800
- Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano—Concord, 925/676-7543
- Alameda County—Oakland, 510/635-3663
- Food Bank—Sacramento, 916/456-1980
- Loaves & Fishes—Sacramento, 916/446-0874
- Second Harvest—Santa Cruz Area, 831/722-7110
- Replate—Berkeley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern California Donation Organizations
- Los Angeles Regional Food Bank—L.A. County, 323/234-3030
- Food Bank of Santa Barbara County—Santa Barbara, 805/967-5741
- Food Bank of Southern California—Long Beach, 562/435-3577
- Food Share, Inc.—Oxnard/Ventura, 805/983-7100
- Orange County Food Bank—Garden Grove, 714/897-6670
- San Diego Food Bank—San Diego, 866/350-3663
- Second Harvest Food Bank—Orange County, 949/653-2900
- Replate—Los Angeles, email@example.com