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Incentivizing Charity to Feed the Hungry

Feb 12, 2015 | Rep. Tom Reed •

We as Americans care deeply about those in need; it is ingrained in our culture to give and to give often. We are among the most charitable nation in the world, and it is only fair that we continue to incentivize that good neighbor aspect that many Americans hold dear.

America is in many ways the land of plenty. But, for too many Americans, hunger is a reality. Nearly one in six of our neighbors faces the pain of hunger. And yet, over 150 billion pounds of excess food is simply thrown away annually. That massive waste of food could feed millions of people. It is common sense to donate this excess food to our local charities and food banks which provide a crucial link in defeating hunger for those who experience food insecurity. That is why I proposed the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act, which the House will vote on today as part of a package of charitable giving bills.

In my district, I have heard from food bank leader and volunteers, farmers, small business employees, and restaurateurs about the positive impact this bill will have on their ability to donate food to help our neighbors in need. Instead of wasting perfectly good food, the goal is to have it donated by providing a tax deduction over the cost of goods sold if the food is donated to a charitable organization.

By providing this critical tax deduction, we are incentivizing the donation of food rather than its disposal as with the current code. This bill helps offset the additional costs of packing and transporting the food for donation. And it also provides a critical source of donated inventory for our charitable organizations.

Fighting for the poor is something we can all agree with, and giving them a meal is just common sense. Bringing together businesses and charities for the benefit of the needy works. Upholding our core American values is what America’s New Congress is all about, and I am humbled to play a role in caring for our neighbors in need.

— Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)

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