Charitable Feeders

Charitable feeding activities include food that is provided at no cost to those in need.

Regulations do not apply to feeding activities of four or fewer people. Charitable feeding of five or more individuals in one instance must follow the City’s Food Safety Code, section 13-13.

After the charitable feeding activities, you must remove all undistributed food, as well as dispose of all trash, debris and wastewater generated during feeding.

Giving Away Food

Charitable feeding activities are not considered food establishments and do not require food establishment permits.

No permit or license is required for giving away the following foods:

  • whole, uncut fresh fruits and vegetables
  • pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods such as:
    • canned goods
    • granola bars
    • bottled water
    • non-refrigerated fruit drinks
    • bagged potato chips
    • popcorn
    • pre-packaged snack cakes and candy bars

Food Handling Requirements

If you are giving away food that is not pre-packaged, you must:

  1. Have a certified food handler or food manager present while food is distributed if it is prepared on-site.
  2. Notify Metro Health within 24 hours after your charitable feeding activity.

Location Requirements

Charitable feeding activities occur at outdoor locations that are not owned by the organization providing the food. Charitable feeders must get written approval from the property owner when giving away food in business parking lots.

Charitable feeding activities may not be held on streets where a traffic hazard is created, or violate regulations for public streets and use of right-of-way.

Downtown City Parks

Feeding activities of five or more people in the following parks must follow the standard reservation process and pay applicable fees:

Sanitation Requirements

All foods served must be from an approved source and/or licensed food facility or prepared on-site at the charitable feeders serving location.

Each charitable feeding location preparing or serving food, other than drinks, shall have the following items present during serving:

  • Must maintain perishable foods at temperatures of 41°F or less or 135°F or greater.
  • Ice that is consumed or that contacts food shall be made from potable water and be protected from contamination.
  • Equipment
    • Must be capable of maintaining perishable foods at temperatures of 41°F or less or 135°F or greater.
    • Must protect food from contamination by consumers and other contamination sources. Where necessary to prevent contamination, effective shields for such equipment shall be provided.
    • Must provide three plastic or metal containers to wash, rinse and sanitize utensils used on-site which open handling of foods is taking place.
  • A charitable feeder may only use single-service article for use by the consumer.
  • A container of potable water if running water is not available.
  • Packaged food may not be stored in direct contact with ice or water if the food is subject to the entry of water because of the nature of its packaging, wrapping, or container or its positioning in the ice or water.
  • All waste water and sewage generated shall be disposed of through an approved sanitary sewage system.
  • Trash and debris generated during the feeding event must be picked up from the feeding event premises.
  • A hand washing station with running water is required. This shall consist of a clean water container with a spigot, filled with potable water, and catch basin to hold the wastewater until properly disposed.
  • A floor may be concrete, machine-laid asphalt, dirt or gravel if it is covered with mats, removable platforms, duckboards, or other suitable materials approved by the regulatory authority that are effectively treated to control dust and mud.
  • Ceilings shall be made of wood, canvas or other materials that protect the interior of the establishment from the weather, windblown dust, birds and debris.