The Senate Homeland Security Committee, of which Senator Collins is the Ranking Member, is scheduled to hold a mark up on Thursday morning to consider a number of bills, including a bill cosponsored by Senator Collins that would enable the federal government and its contractors to donate surplus food to food banks and soup kitchens throughout the nation. The bipartisan bill was authored by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and also cosponsored by Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
Specifically, the bill directs the administration to amend federal contracting rules to encourage federal agencies and food contractors to donate surplus food to nonprofit organizations that aid hungry families in the U.S. Under current law, the fear of lawsuits discourages federal agencies and food contractors from donating their surplus food to soup kitchens and food banks. This bill would expand protections in the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act that shield donors from lawsuits when they donate wholesome food.
Senator Collins said, “In these difficult economic times, soup kitchens and food banks are struggling to meet the growing demands of their communities. The federal government should encourage the donation of wholesome surplus food to help families in need. This is a common sense bill and it is my hope that it is signed into law as quickly as possible.”
The legislation has been endorsed by a number of food banks throughout the nation including Preble Street in Portland.