About Foodnet


Foodnet is a 501(c)(3) organization that helps to feed the hungry and stop food waste. All food is donated from grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries, institutions, bottling companies, commercial and local orchards and gardens, etc.    

Foodnet picks up all food items, especially perishable food, and gives that food away.  Because the food is needing to be distributed quickly, we make every effort to give the food away the same day that it is received.  The food items most often donated are  fruits, vegetables, dairy products, bread and sweets, and deli items. Occasionally meat and dry goods are donated and given away. When food is received, it is sorted and distributed and non-edible food is given to animals or composted.  Cardboard and other materials are recycled.  

The first Foodnet program was started in 1985 by Frank Marsh (now deceased), Pastor Lincoln Justice and Pastor Gil Visser.  Their purpose at that time was to help the homeless, transients, elderly, and low income people who fall into the cracks of the legal guidelines for getting help, and also to cut down on the number of pounds of food that goes to the landfill. Their motto was "Tummy Fill Not Landfill."  When Foodnet started, there were 5 contributing stores and 15 families receiving food.

As the donations from businesses increased, it was obvious that more help was needed.  Early in 1986, a city wide letter was sent to all church denominations in Lincoln, to inform them about Foodnet and to ask for donations and more involvement.  Fifteen churches attended the first meeting and from this, three churches in Lincoln began an official Foodnet site. They were Lakeview United Methodist Church, Trinity United Methodist Church, and Faith Lutheran.

Today,  there are 2-4 Foodnet sites open every day of the week.  We currently have locations in Lincoln, Crete, Denton, Milford, and Seward.  These communities continue to be very supportive of Foodnet with nearly 100 businesses and organizations donating on a regular basis. Foodnet volunteers actually pick up at more than 300 businesses every week.  Although most pickups are scheduled, Foodnet regularly receives calls from other businesses and organizations for a pick up.  When this happens, our volunteers make every effort to pick up that food within one hour of being contacted.  Without these donations, Foodnet simply would not exist.   In the end, thousands of people in our communities are served every week. 

As it was established, Foodnet continues to be an ALL VOLUNTEER organization. To keep us going, all food, labor, distribution sites, and vehicles for hauling are donated.   We value the donations and know that the food is helping others.  Today, Foodnet has one of the largest networks of volunteers in Lincoln and surrounding communities, with approximately 500 men and women involved with Foodnet.  

To support Foodnet, we rely on the financial donations from the community.  Our expenses include the use of two cell phones (one for the public to call to find a Foodnet distribution site, and another private line for businesses to use for donations), insurance, and containers to repackage prepared food items. 

We certainly marvel at the vision of those who were involved in starting Foodnet more than 30 years ago.  Many communities across our nation are just now realizing the food waste and how that can help people.  Lincoln, Nebraska, has been giving and distributing  for more than 30 years!   We hope to continue these goals in the years to come.

FoodNet Inc. is a 501-C3 non profit corporation

No one in Lincoln, Nebraska should go hungry.


The Emerson Act

The Emerson Act

The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act (Federal Legislation)

What sort of food is protected?
The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (the "Emerson Act") provides protection for food and grocery products that meet all quality and labeling standards imposed by Federal, State and local laws and regulations even though the food or product may not be "readily marketable due to appearance, age, freshness, grade, size, surplus or other conditions." 

Food may include any "raw, cooked processed or prepared edible substance, ice, beverage or ingredient" used or intended for use by humans. Grocery products can include nonfood products, including "disposable paper or plastic products, household cleaning products, laundry detergent, cleaning products or miscellaneous household items." There are also provisions to deal with food and products that do not meet quality and labeling requirements of Federal, State and Local laws. The National law has received widespread bi-partisan in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both legislative bodies passed the bill by unanimous consent. Furthermore, the Emerson Act moves the Good Samaritan Law from the National and Community Service Act of 1990 to the Childhood Nutrition Act of 1996. 

Who is protected? 
The national legislation protects food donors, including individuals, and non-profit feeding programs who act in good faith. While exceptions are noted for gross negligence, the law states that these groups will not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the "nature, age, packaging or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product..." 

How does the law improve on the state laws already in place? 
The national legislation replaces all state laws, including those in the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and all U.S. territories and possessions. Under the National law, food donors need only seek protection under one law. This should save significant time and resources on the donor's behalf and simplify the entire donation process. 

How does the national law compare to state laws? 
The Emerson Act has actually existed as a model for state laws since 1990 when it was placed in the National and Community Service Act of 1990, although it did not carry Bill Emerson's name until 1996. While state laws have never been tested in courts, and food-rescue programs have worked hard to prevent even a single case of food-borne illness, the national law is broader and simpler to apply. 

FoodNet Inc. is a 501-C3 non profit corporation

No one in Lincoln, Nebraska should go hungry.

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