Public Works Department Banner, This link takes you back to home page

Recycling & Solid Waste Menu



Food Donation Opportunities

*Available to Permitted Food Facilities Only*

Many people in Santa Cruz County are at risk of going hungry each month. With partnerships between food industry businesses and community groups, we can dramatically reduce food waste and hunger in Santa Cruz County.

Everyone can help—it's easy. Whether you have a few servings of a prepared dish or a large volume of surplus food, there is a community group near you that can use it. The non-profit organizations listed on this flyer help distribute the food safely and equitably to those in need.

Food donations help the County and its four cities meet state mandated recycling goals. In Santa Cruz County, food is the largest component of the waste stream for food stores and restaurants. For most food-related businesses, 40-60% of total waste is food scraps, much of which is still edible. Donating food not only helps feed hungry people, it helps your business and the environment.

  • ● Help those in need
  • ● Save on waste disposal costs
  • ● Food donations are tax deductible

What about liability?

The California “Good Samaritan Law” lets you donate edible food to local charities and protects your business from liability that may arise from the use of donated food.

Tips for Food Donations

  • ● It is possible to make arrangements with some organizations to pick up food donations, especially if donations are available on a regular basis.
  • ● There is a great need for protein foods like meat, cheese, etc.
  • ● For donations of prepared and perishable food, it is a good idea to call first.
  • ● For donations of prepared food, it is best to establish a relationship with one or two non-profits. Some prepared food can be transported in plastic bags and boxes. Containers can sometimes be emptied and washed at the donation site. As the level of trust grows, you may feel comfortable leaving food trays at the donation site for later retrieval.Directory of Santa Cruz County Organizations Accepting Food Donations

Directory of Santa Cruz County Organizations Accepting Food Donations

 (Please call ahead to ensure that the facility is still participating)

Organization Services Food accepted Drop off Location Area
Calvary Chapel
8065 Valencia, Aptos
Food pantry, distributes 6 bags per month Grocery items, produce and prepared food. Flexible, call to arrange. Mid County
St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
435 Monterey Ave., Capitola
Food pantry, distributes 10-15 bags per week. Non-perishable grocery items. 435 Monterey Ave.
8-12 & 1-4 M-F.
Call first.
Mid County
Above the Line
9053 Soquel Dr. #203, Aptos
Residential facility; provides 3 meals/day to 10-20 youth. Grocery items, produce. Call first if food is perishable. 2714 Freedom Blvd.,
Corralitos, 7AM-9PM every day.
Mid County
Grey Bears
2710 Chanticleer, Santa Cruz
Distributes 2100 brown bags of food per week to seniors and the disabled. Feeds lunch to 40 volunteers M-F. Grocery items, produce and prepared food Pick up by arrangement. Drop off at 2710 Chanticleer 8AM-3PM, M-F. Mid County
Valley Churches United
9430 Love Creek, Ben Lomond
Food pantry-provides up to 70 families with groceries each week. Grocery items, produce. 9430 Love Creek
Tu, Wed, Thurs 9-12
Sat 10-12
San Lorenzo Valley
Food Not Bombs
Santa Cruz
All volunteer organization, serves vegan soup, meals on Wednesday and Saturday. Produce, grocery items. No meat. Drop off and pick up (Friday, Saturday, Wednesday mornings) of donations by arrangement. Santa Cruz
Community Support Services/Pioneer House
290 Pioneer Street Santa Cruz
831-459-0444 ext. 216

Serves lunch to 20-30 people 7 days a week.

Lunch items, prepared food.

Drop off at 290 Pioneer Street, 8AM-3PM every day.

Santa Cruz

Battered Women's Task Force/Walnut Ave. Women's Center
303 Walnut, Santa Cruz

Food pantry-provides 50 bags of food to hungry on Thursdays and Fridays.

Grocery items, produce and prepared food.

Pick up by arrangement. Drop off 303 Walnut Wed-Fri 9-5.

Santa Cruz

Homeless Community Resource Center and Page Smith Community House
115 Coral Street, Santa Cruz
Soup kitchen-serves 175 meals/week. Food pantry- prepared food and grocery items are distributed. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. 115 Coral, Santa Cruz, 8-5:30, 7 days/week Santa Cruz
Homeless Garden
127 Washington Street, Santa Cruz
Soup kitchen, mainly vegetarian-serves breakfast and lunch to 25 workers M-F. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. No refrigerator. 127 Washington (9-6 M-F) Garden, Shaffer between RR tracks and Delaware Ave. (9-1 M-F) Santa Cruz
New Life Center
707 Fair Ave, Santa Cruz
Soup kitchen-serves dinner 7 days/week to 40-50 clients.Food pantry-provides 15-20 bags of food weekly Prepared food, grocery items, produce. 707 Fair Ave. (corner Delaware Ave.), Santa Cruz 8AM-8PM daily. Santa Cruz
River Street Shelter
733 River Street, Santa Cruz
Residential facility-serves breakfast and dinner to 30 clients 7 days a week. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. 733 River, but access is on Coral, 2:30-9 7 days a week. Santa Cruz
Salvation Army
721 Laurel Street, Santa Cruz
Food pantry- provides 15-20 bags per day. Grocery items and produce. 721 Laurel
9-12 & 1-4:30 M-F
Santa Cruz
Salvation Army Loma Prieta Transitional Housing Complex
232 Union, Watsonville
Food pantry-provides over 20 bags of food to hungry each day. Soup kitchen-serves breakfast and dinner to 75-130 clients daily. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. 232 Union (weekdays 8AM-5PM M-F)214 Union (Sa-Sun 4-8PM) Watsonville
Pajaro Valley Loaves and Fishes, Inc.
150 2nd Street, Watsonville
Soup kitchen-serves lunch to 40-60 M-F. Food pantry serves 500 clients each month. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. Pick up by arrangement. Drop off at 150 2nd Street, 9AM-3PM M-F. Watsonville
Green Valley Christian Center
376 South Green Valley, Watsonville
Food pantry open 2nd & 4th Thursdays of month Non-perishable grocery items. 376 South Green Valley, 9-5 M-F. Watsonville
Si Se Puede
161 Niles Lane, Watsonville
Residential facility, serves 3 meals daily to 24 clients. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. 161 Niles Lane, 7AM-8PM every day. Watsonville
Hermanas Recovery Home
640 Rodriguez Street, Watsonville
Residential facility, serves 3 meals daily to 18 clients. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. 640 Rodriguez Street, 8-4 M-F. Watsonville
Second Harvest Food Bank
PO Box 990, Watsonville
Distributes more than 7 million pounds of food per year to 140 human service agencies. Will refer to other organizations. Grocery items and produce. Pick up by arrangement, drop off 15 Errington Road, 8AM-4PM M-F Watsonville
Pajaro Valley Shelter Services
Brennan Street, Watsonville
Residential facility-provides food to up to 24 residents who prepare own meals. Grocery items, produce and prepared food. Drop off by pre-arrangement only. Watsonville

2024 Holiday Schedule

Buena Vista Location 

1231 Buena Vista Dr.,
Watsonville, CA

(831) 454-2430 or
(831) 454-5153

County Landfill
Open every Mon.,

Tues., Thurs.,
Fri., & Sat.
7:30 am - 3:30 pm

Open every Wed.,
7:30 am - 2:30 pm

Buena Vista Household
Hazardous Waste
Open every Wed.,
7:30 am - 2:30 pm
Open every Fri., & Sat.
7:30 am - 3:30 pm

(831) 454-2606

Ben Lomond Location 

9835 Newell Creek Rd.,
Ben Lomond, CA

(831) 454-2430 or

(831) 454-3951


County Transfer Station
Open every Mon.,

Tues., Thurs.,
Fri., & Sat.
7:30 am - 3:30 pm

Open every Wed.,
7:30 am - 2:30 pm

Ben Lomond Household Hazardous Waste
Open every Thurs.
7:30 am - 3:30 pm

(831) 454-2606

Other Household Hazardous Waste 

City of Santa Cruz Resource Recovery Facility
Open every Sat.
7:30 am - 3:30 pm

605 Dimeo Lane
Santa Cruz, CA

(831) 420-6270

Santa Cruz County
Solid Waste & Recycling
Main Office

701 Ocean St., Room 410
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 454-2160

Email Public Works