Guide to donating food

Did you know that 1 in 5 Australian households (21%)1 experienced severe food insecurity in 2021/22? This translates to 65,000 Illawarra households not being able to access food that meets their health and cultural needs. Meanwhile, tons of food intended for human consumption disappears into landfill.

One direct way to help is by donating food to one of the food relief organisations. Donated food supports small and large organisations that provide various forms of emergency food relief – from breakfast programs for kids who go to school hungry, to community kitchens that provide daily meals for homeless or disadvantaged community members. There are a number of ways to donate food throughout the Illawarra. Watch our Video.

Why donate?

  • You’re helping those in need
    Donating food is the most direct way you can support vulnerable members of our community
  • It can save you money
    As a business or an individual, donating food can save you money on your waste disposal costs
  • It’s better for the environment
    Reduce your food waste – donating surplus food combats climate change by reducing the greenhouse emissions associated with food waste rotting in landfill
  • It can benefit your business
    As a business or organisation, donating your surplus food can provide the added perk of an eligible tax deduction.
    • The donation is made to an organisation with deductible gift recipient (DGR) status
    • It must be voluntary, meaning the business must not receive any
      material benefit or advantage in exchange for the donation
    • The business donor keeps a record of the donation, generally a receipt
      from the gift recipient. For more information, visit the Australian Taxation Office website (

What type of food can I donate?

  • Surplus food from supermarkets, greengrocers, bakers, butchers, markets, cafes, catering etc.
  • Blemished or imperfect produce
  • Products close to their use by date
  • Products close or past their best before date
  • Excess and slow-moving stock or deleted lines
  • Products that have incorrect, damaged or no labelling and/or damaged packaging
  • Sample size and bulk products
  • Leftover unused portions of food that have not been served to customers e.g. salads, sandwiches, muffins and cakes
  • Food grown at farms that does not meet the size or cosmetic criteria set by supermarkets.

For more info, see Donating food to charities and not-for-profit organisations

Get donating

  • Pick up by or delivery to OzHarvest
    We are fortunate to have OzHarvest operating in the Illawarra. OzHarvest is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation, which collects quality excess food from commercial outlets and delivers it evenly to the local community organisations that support community members people in need. Organise pick up or deliver direct to their Unanderra based warehouse by calling 02 9516 3877 or emailing
  • Deliver direct to one of the local community organisations
    There are numerous community organisations in the Illawarra that also accept food donations direct, ranging from small donations by individuals to larger donations from businesses. The donate food directory will provide you with an overview of these organisations and their specific donation processes.

Additional resources to reduce food waste in business

Your Business is Food Toolkit 

Food Services Magazine article – plate waste reduction tips 

Food Services Magazine article – Festive season food waste reduction tips

Case Study – Hilton Sydney

Your Business is Food

[1] Foodbank, 2022. Foodbank Hunger Report