Fee vs. Free Food

We hope that you will find the answers to a few of these frequently asked questions helpful about whether or not the Foodbank charges its network partners for food.

Does the Foodbank charge for the food it distributes?

  • Most importantly, the person in need receiving food is never charged a fee.
  • 73 percent of the food that the Foodbank distributes to its network partners is completely free.
  • Approximately 23 percent of the food that the Foodbank distributes to its network partners includes a small “shared maintenance fee” that ranges from $0.04 to $0.18 per pound, which is consistent with other food banks in the country.
  • Food donations that are collected at a food drive by individuals and organizations within the community are always inspected and sorted by our volunteers and made available on our menu for free.

What is a shared maintenance fee?

  • A shared maintenance fee is a small handling fee in return for services provided (e.g. operations of warehousing and distribution of donated food and products).
  • This small fee defrays a portion of the costs associated with transporting, receiving, storing and distributing dry, refrigerated and frozen goods.
  • The shared maintenance fee is not a charge for food, but it is assessed by pounds of food received and is never more than $0.18 per pound.

How does the Foodbank’s purchase program work?

  • Our goal is to be a one-stop-shop for our network partners to create nourishing meals for those in need. In addition to the free and donated items, the Foodbank is also able to offer low-priced products due to our large purchasing volume.
  • These low-priced products, which are priced comparable to Aldi’s or Sam’s Club, make up about 4 percent (just over 1 million pounds of food) of the Foodbank’s overall menu.
  • The Foodbank also refers to the purchase program as the “Amazing Values” section of our menu.