Putting a meeting to rest has its own rewards,
but planners can feel even better by donating leftover food and
promotional items to charities. Here’s how to share the meeting
wealth and maybe even land a tax break.
The Professional Convention Management Association (www.pcma.org/source/community) encourages members and
nonmembers alike to donate food and products through its Network
for the Needy program. Planners are advised to work with America’s
Second Harvest and the Canadian Association of Food Banks to give
leftover foodstuffs to those in need.
PCMA also began a partnership last September with Gifts In Kind
International to distribute products, samples and giveaways from
trade shows to those who will make good use of the bags,
flashlights, pens and other items no one wants to carry back home
on the plane.
Offering a similar service is start-up business Special E (www.aspeciale.com). For a small fee (minimum $150),
the company will redistribute leftover food, flowers, party
supplies, promotional products, misprinted items, hotel room
amenities and even formal gowns from events all around the United
States. The organizations Special E delivers to include the
American Red Cross, ASPCA, City Harvest, Disabled American
Veterans, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Ronald McDonald
House and many more.
The idea of giving away leftover food might raise liability
flags for many planners, but not to worry: Most states limit the
meeting host’s responsibilities once the food reaches the food