food rescue

Food Rescue is the heart of Food For Free’s work. By recapturing fresh food that might otherwise be discarded, we reduce food waste while guaranteeing access to fresh produce and healthy meals for emergency food programs and individuals in need. 

Our Food Rescue prioritizes whole foods, focusing on fruits, vegetables, and proteins to be redistributed, ensuring we address not only food waste, but also hunger and nutrition with aims to positively impact diet-related disease. 

Our Prepared Food Rescue captures fully cooked and nutritious foods from a multitude of sources, which enables us to reach those who lack the space or ability to cook their own meals.

  • We distribute the food that we rescue to 100+ food programs in Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Lynn, Malden, Medford, Revere, Somerville, and Watertown
  • In 2019, Food For Free rescued 2 million pounds of food and distributed 2.2 million pounds of food
  • The food we collect has helped to feed 30,000+ people 

Receiving food for your food program: Is your pantry, meal program, or shelter interested in receiving food from Food For Free? Get in touch:, 617-802-9880.

Donating foodInterested in donating food? Visit our Food Donation page →

Food For Free collects fresh and prepared foods from many sources including:

  • Wholesale distributors
  • Grocery stores
  • Farms
  • Farmers’ Markets
  • CSA distribution sites
  • Bakeries and other retailers
  • Universities
  • Can drives
  • Catered events
  • Restaurants

The City of Cambridge City Food Fund enables us to purchase additional produce for pantries in the Cambridge Food Pantry Network to supplement the produce we rescue with purchased produce. Food For Free does a limited amount of purchasing produce for other food programs as well.


At Harvard University Dining Services  our partnership with Food for Free is a source of pride and satisfaction for every member of our team. We put a lot of thought and effort into making every meal satisfying and nourishing, and to ensure that no food gets wasted means an enormous amount to our staff. Their commitment to supporting our students, our campus, and our extended community in thoughtfully gathering our food to share with those in need imbues our work with even greater meaning and purpose, and I’m so grateful for this vital relationship between Harvard and Food for Free.

― David P. Davidson, Managing Director of Dining Services, Harvard University Campus Services