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FY14 Jump Start Food Recovery Grant Program


Food recovery is the practice of safely retrieving edible food that would otherwise go to waste, and distributing it to those in need.

The recovered food is edible, but often not saleable. Products that are at or past their “sell by” dates or are imperfect in any way – a bruised apple or day-old bread – are donated by grocery stores, food vendors, restaurants, and farmers markets.  Other times, the food is unblemished, but restaurants may have made or ordered too much, or may have edible pieces of food that are byproducts of process of preparing foods to cook and serve. In addition, food manufacturers may donate product that marginally fails quality control or that has become short-dated.

According to several studies, Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food produced for consumption, which comes at an annual cost of at least $100 billion.  Meanwhile, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 14 percent of American households do not get enough food to live active, healthy lifestyles.

Organizations that encourage food recovery, food rescue, sharing, gleaning and similar waste-avoidance practices come under the umbrella of food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens.

In October 2012, the County Council adopted  Resolution 17-564, which established the Montgomery County Food Recovery Work Group.  The initiative, spearheaded by Councilmember Valerie Ervin, is based on the successful model of the food redistribution called the Food Recovery Network at the University of Maryland-College Park.  The group collects food from cafeterias, sporting events and special events and redistributes it to those in need.

The Montgomery County Food Recovery Work Group was charged with developing a report detailing how to create and implement a food recovery system in Montgomery County.  In FY14, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was provided funding to further the efforts of the Group.  The  Food Recovery Work Group is working to develop a sustainable distribution network of groups and organizations with excess food (restaurants, caterers, universities, special events) and connect them to groups that provide food to those in need.  A portion of the funding has been allocated to create and advance the network through small grants to organizations that support and enhance the capabilities of a number of qualified groups currently engaged in food recovery.


FY14 Jump Start Food Recovery Grant Program Application (click here)


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I apply?

A: An official application can be requested by emailing


Q: What is the application deadline?

A: Application deadline is Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 4 pm.  Applications can be emailed to  (email confirmations will verify receipt of application) or submitted in person at

Licensure and Regulatory Services

Montgomery County Dept. of Health and Human Services 

255 Rockville Pike, 1st Floor 

Rockville, MD  20850


Q: What are the eligibly requirements?

A: Grants will be provided to organizations involved in food recovery within Montgomery County.  It must be very clear how the proposal will start, advance, or enhance food recovery for the community.

Any organization, institution or association that provides services or activities within Montgomery County is eligible to apply. Grants will be awarded for projects in Montgomery County only. Organization headquarters can be outside of Montgomery County as long as the organization demonstrates that the activities and services supported by grant funds benefit Montgomery County residents. 


Q: What kinds of expenses are eligible through this grant?

A:  Any goods and/or services that start, enhance or advance food recovery or a food recovery network within Montgomery County are eligible.  It must be very clear how the purchase or expense relates to food recovery. 

The program will NOT fund:

1.      Projects that have an existing deficit from a previous year or a previous project.

2.      Organizations that received previous awards, and did not comply with the terms of the award, including submission of project reports and/or participation in a monitoring visit.

3.      Projects that will require more than a one-time grant award.

4.      Purchases that occur before the start or after the close of the granting period.

5.      Replacement of lost and/or reduced Federal, State, United Way or other funding.

6.      Organizations that have an outstanding contractual obligation with the Department and/or the County.


Q: How much can an organization request in an application?

A: Organizations can apply for grants from $500-$9,999.  Please note that these are one-time awards and must show desired effect to a food recovery network within the granting period. 


Q: Can an organization submit multiple grant requests?

A: No.  An organization may submit only one application per grant period and per organization.  Only one group or organization may apply per year, including different branches, divisions, locations and/or units of same organization.


Q: How are decisions made?

A:  All applications will be subject to an initial review, including:

1.  Completeness of application.

2.  Legibility and clarity.

3.  Compliance with applicable guidelines, including the one-time only nature of the project.

4.  Fiscal accuracy.

Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant without consideration.

A panel consisting of both public and private entities will then review applications for their effect in creating, advancing and/or enhancing food recovery or a food recovery network within Montgomery County.  Applications will be evaluated based on their level of impact, ability to complete the desired outcomes and the ratio of investment to impact.  Organizations that show coordination, collaboration and/or leverage of other resources will be more competitive.


Q: When are the funds available?

A: DHHS will notify awardees in writing 4-6 weeks after the application deadline.  NOTE: There may be additional requirements post application such as a HACPP plan for food safety or proof of Food Service Manager certification.  Once notified by DHHS, an organization may move forward immediately with approved purchases.   All purchases must be completed no later than June 30, 2014. 


Q: What if I need to make changes to the application after I have completed the on-line application?

A: Please e-mail changes such as the grant purpose, grant amount requested or contact information to


Q: Who can I reach out to if I have questions?

A: Please direct all questions to