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CEC is committed to creating a more resilient and just region in the face of climate change. Through our work with the Central Coast Climate Justice Network and elsewhere, our vision includes an end to racial injustices and their resulting environmental inequities.

CEC’s Santa Barbara County Food Rescue is a collaborative food recovery network for Santa Barbara County with support from private, public, and nonprofit sectors. SBC Food Rescue builds relationships between donors with excess food and charitable organizations throughout the County to help address food insecurity and keep good food out of the landfill. Learn more at


  • Restaurants, grocery stores, schools, and hotels can join SBC Food Rescue as a food donor to donate their excess high quality prepared foods to organizations that serve Santa Barbara County residents in need.
  • Organizations that serve Santa Barbara County residents in need can join SBC Food Rescue as a food recipient organization to receive high quality prepared food that would otherwise go to the landfill.
  • Does your organization support charitable food donation, delivery, or distribution during COVID-19? Join the SBC Food Rescue Hub and help CEC promote collaboration and assist in identifying county-wide food related needs and resources.
  • Donate to support our county-wide charitable food distribution efforts.


About 40% of food produced in the US is never eaten. Instead, it is lost somewhere along the food chain as it is grown, processed, transported, stored, or prepared. When this food is sent to the landfill, it decomposes and produces methane – a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In light of this – and the fact that nearly 50% of low-income households in Santa Barbara County deal with issues of  food insecurity – it is unconscionable that we are throwing away good, healthy food.

When excess, nutritious food is redirected from restaurants, hotels, and supermarkets to charitable organizations serving food insecure populations, the natural resources used to produce that food are not wasted, more people have access to food, and less methane is produced in the landfill. This win-win-win opportunity helps food donors to be more connected to the local community, provides meals for those in need, and reduces the negative environmental impacts of our regional food system.


SBC Food Rescue picks up excess high quality prepared food at scheduled dates and times, and brings it to registered charitable organizations that provide food to those in need. We connect local restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and schools to Santa Barbara County residents in need, rescuing high-quality surplus food that would otherwise go to the landfill.

During COVID-19, CEC scaled up to support county-wide charitable food distribution efforts. We rapidly expanded our efforts (read more about this expansion in our blog and this article from the Santa Barbara Independent).

CEC is compiling and managing a centralized database that identifies all the players in charitable food distribution, as well as gaps in service. Among other purposes, this hub is being used to help match donors who have excess food with agencies who can get it to those in need. Through this county-wide database, any organization supporting charitable food donation, delivery, or distribution during this time is encouraged to share their activities and where they need help. The collected information is available for any organization to view and can be filtered to focus on an agency’s area of interest.

Learn more at

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