Charitable Food Donation

Clark County Public Health (CCPH) is charged with protecting the health of all residents and visitors to Clark County. As communities work to address issues of homelessness and food insecurity, many individuals or groups seek to help on a personal level.

Individuals experiencing homelessness are entitled to food prepared and stored safely in a sanitary environment. People experiencing homelessness often have preexisting medical conditions and/or lack the ability to maintain proper health habits including getting adequate sleep and nutrition, and may be more susceptible to a foodborne illness. Homelessness is a public health issue needing comprehensive and compassionate solutions.

If you or your organization are interested in offering food to those experiencing homelessness or who are otherwise in need, use the information below to guide you through the various ways food can be safely served.

Options for individuals or groups wanting to provide food to those in need:

  • Volunteer with or donate food to an existing Donated Food Distribution Organization. ​​​​​​
  • Share the following foods without obtaining health department approval. We appreciate notification, but it isn’t required.
    • Whole, uncut produce.
    • Dry goods
    • Canned goods
    • Commercially packaged food that does not need refrigeration.
  • Offer foods that are exempt from permit. You must notify us and gain approval but the review is free. Information about foods that can be offered without a permit can be found on our Exempt from Permit webpage
  • Become an approved Donated Food Distribution Organization (DFDO) when offering any of the items below. A detailed application and approval are necessary but the review and permit is free of charge. Designation as a 501 (c) or sponsorship by a 501 (c) is required. And DFDOs are required to provide an annual update of their food service operation.
    • Cut or prepared produce
    • Unpackaged, ready – to – eat food
    • Food requiring refrigeration
    • Foods requiring cooking, heating, or hot holding
    • Foods that have been or will be cooled

The foods listed above pose a greater risk of foodborne illness if they are not stored and served at proper temperatures. But with designation as a DFDO and established oversight of some food safety criteria, safe foods can be offered to the community.

Plan Review Documents for DFDO

Be sure all items on this checklist are addressed in your application submittal to reduce plan review time. DFDO plan review is free of charge.

Required Forms

Review and approval timelines are faster when complete information is included in the initial plan submittal.

Documents required for specific processes:

How to Submit for Review
  • Online: Visit our Online Permitting Portal. Be sure to review the Online Users Guide document for instructions on how to register for a profile, submit and make payments.
  • In person: Please note that an appointment is required for in person submissions. Book your appointment now.
  • By mail: Application materials, plans and payment can be submitted by mail at:

    ​Clark County Environmental Health
    PO Box  9825
    Vancouver, WA 98666