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Feeding San Diego prepares for more food donations with new state law

A Feeding San Diego volunteer places packaged, frozen chicken into the trunk of a car at Pechanga Arena, Feb. 15, 2021.
Jacob Aere
A Feeding San Diego volunteer places packaged, frozen chicken into the trunk of a car at Pechanga Arena, Feb. 15, 2021.

Hunger relief and food rescue organization Feeding San Diego is gearing up for an increase in food donations starting Jan. 1, 2022, as a new state law goes into effect that's designed to prevent food waste and help alleviate climate change.

Starting in the new year, California Senate Bill 1383 will require food handling businesses, like supermarkets, to start donating surplus edible food to hunger relief organizations.

Feeding San Diego chief supply chain officer Patty O’Connor spoke with KPBS Midday Edition on Tuesday and said the bill will be beneficial to the state in multiple ways.

"Food, when it goes into the landfill, generates methane, and methane is, of course, one of the worst pollutants," she said. "This bill does something that's two-fold, which is so great. It's reducing the amount of landfill and will improve the environment, and at the same time it is rescuing food that would otherwise go into the landfill, so we're feeding people at the same time."

RELATED: Feeding San Diego kicks off the 'Together Tour'

O'Connor said the bill is made up of two tiers, categorizing which businesses are required to comply.

"Jan. 1, 2022, the first group of people that will have to be doing that are going to be the larger grocery stores, wholesale vendors and food distributors," she said. "Then, Jan. 1, 2024, that will start including large restaurant facilities, hotels, health facilities, large venues and events and local education agencies as well."

Feeding San Diego rescues about 900,000 pounds of food from local restaurants and local markets, which is equivalent to a little more than 1 million meals going out to the community each month.

For information on how to get food assistance from Feeding San Diego, you can visit Feeding San Diego's website, and click the 'Find Help' button at the top of the home page.