Take Out Hunger


Take Out Hunger is a food donations initiative by Harris County Public Health, powered by PHI LAB.

Our mission is to reduce hunger and food insecurity in Harris County by providing food safety education to food establishments and increase food donation activity safely.

Together we can safely donate good, excess food to those most in need and decrease food waste. Whether you are a food donor, food assistance organization, or volunteer, Take Out Hunger is here to help you get started on this mission!

Take the Take Out Hunger Online Training Course today!

For more information, contact: Program Coordinator [email protected]
Phone: 713.274.6360
Fax: 713.274.6375

*Please note that our address has recently changed.

Harris County Public Health Environmental Public Health
2221 West Loop South, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77027

Take Out Hunger can help you get started with online resources, virtual coaching, and donations equipment & supplies…all for free and it’s easy! 

To sign up as a Donor or Recipient Partner Organization… 

    1. Complete a Voluntary Participation Form. E-mail completed form to [email protected]

    2. Complete a Donor Sign-Up Form or Recipient Sign-Up Form

If you are just looking for more information about donations for your food establishment, we’ve got you covered, too! Let us know what you’d like to know, here.

Take Out Hunger Online Training Course

The Take Out Hunger online training program helps new and current food handlers keep up to date on laws and regulations for the county and state in regards to food donations, whether they receive food, donate food, or transport food. 


The Problem

Each year, about 40% of the food that is produced in the U.S. ends up in the landfill 
(Source: Feeding America).

What a Waste! Much of this wasted food takes place at the food retail and foodservice level.

In Harris County, nearly 750,000 people are affected by hunger, many of which are kids
(Source: Feeding America).

Hunger: Often times, continuous or frequent hunger is the result of food insecurity. Food insecurity is a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food (Source: USDA ERS).


The Solution

Harris County has over 8,000 food establishments and nearly 45 pantries or soup kitchens distributing food to those in need in the community. Why not connect supply to demand?

Donations have never tasted so good! Food recovery is the process of using different methods to divert food from disposal in a landfill. Donating food to feed hungry people is one the most efficient ways to recover edible, excess food. 


Donation Process

Getting started is easy! Contact our Program Coordinator to learn what you need to do to get started. You can expect to discuss some of the following:

  • Signing up with Take Out Hunger as a Donor, Recipient Partner, or Volunteer
  • Completing a Donations Food Safety Training
  • Verifying your Food Manager’s or Food Handler’s certificate
  • Any previous experience with food donations

Everyone can benefit from food donations…

  • Liability Protection - Legal protection from criminal and civil liabilities when apparently wholesome food is donated and accepted in good faith. These protections are granted at the federal level through the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, and at the state level through the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, Ann. § 76.001—004.
    • Benefits: Donor & Recipient Partners

  • Tax Incentives - Claim a General or Enhanced Tax Deduction for food donated.
    • Benefits: Donors

  • Lower Waste Costs - By donating, less food will end up in the dumpster. This could translate to savings throughout the year.
    • Benefits: Donors

  • Good Public Image - Food donations are good all-around because everyone benefits, and it keeps good food from going to waste. Let others know you are part of Take Out Hunger #takeouthungerhc.
    • Benefits: Everyone!
Quick Guides for Food Donors & Recipient Partners

Practicing food safety and preventing food-borne illness is a top priority of Take Out Hunger.
Click on the buttons below to view the food safety toolkit that is right for you.


Donor Information Brochure Recipient Information Brochure


Need a Food Manager’s or Handler’s Certificate?

Resources for Schools

In an effort to combat food waste and help provide adequate meals to kids, Take Out Hunger wants to provide schools the resources they need to help join the fight. Find materials below for ways schools can get involved!

USDA Memo on Donating Surplus Food from School Meals

USDA Memo on Organizing Share Tables at Schools

Need a Food Manager’s or Handler’s Certificate?


Voluntary Participation Form* English | Español
*Send completed form to [email protected].

Donor Sign-Up Form

Recipient Sign-Up Form



Donation Labels Template English | Español

Donation Tracking Sheets English | Español

Refrigerated Storage Temperature Log English |  Español 

Thermometer Calibration Log English |  Español 

PrePost Survey

Recipient PrePst Survey

Donor PrePost Survey