Frequently asked questions for Copia food donation service


The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating impact on food security. Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm are working with Copia to coordinate the donation of food from hospitals to communities facing increased food insecurity from COVID-19. Supporting you remains our priority. Please contact us if you have additional questions. 


Get started with food rescue and donation

How is this food donation service filling a need presented by COVID-19?

The coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating impact on food security. More people are experiencing food insecurity and nonprofit organizations that serve them are struggling to keep up with the increased demand. Copia’s platform facilitates the donation of leftover hospital food so hospitals can help provide immediate relief to those in need.  

How are Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm involved with Copia?

Practice Greenhealth and Health Care Without Harm are working with Copia is to accelerate adoption of food waste management practices by hospitals, including both food waste tracking and food donation. 

How is Copia and its partners protecting its workers and food donors during this time?  What are the infectious control measures for the drivers?

Copia is a technology platform company that integrates with third-party companies, such as DoorDash and Postmates, to streamline the food donation process solution across the country, and ensure that a driver picks up within 45 minutes of submitting a food donation. DoorDash and Postmates have implemented paid sick leave policies for any drivers affected by illness during this time. They have also introduced and recommended contactless handoff of food donations, following the recommended social distancing of 6 feet.

What is the discounted rate of service for this response period and what do the costs cover? Recognizing Copia is a for-profit business, are they making a profit on this disaster response? 

Copia has discounted their fees to only cover hard costs, which include driver payment and live operations management. This discount will extend for 3 months and then be reassessed based on the severity of the situation with COVID-19. These discounted rates include access to the food donation app, driver dispatching, driver payment, recipient matching, live operations support, and access to their standard donation impact tracking dashboard. Copia’s food waste tracking software and waste prevention dashboard is not included in this discounted rate, but you can follow up with Copia if you would like to turn these features on.

How much does it cost if I am in a health system with multiple facilities? 

For health care systems with multiple participating hospitals, Copia has additional dashboards that allow health systems to measure and compare impact across their hospitals. This pricing is custom based on the number of seats and participating hospital locations. For pricing inquiries, please contact Copia. 

What is your ability to scale? In cities where you are now? In cities where you are not currently located?

Copia is currently servicing commercial kitchens and nonprofit recipient agencies in 270 cities across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and can activate new cities in 3-5 business days. This ability to scale is enabled by both software and integrations with national logistics partners such as DoorDash and Postmates, who service over 80% of the U.S. population. 

What is your track record for providing service in a disaster? 

Most recently, Copia served food to tens of thousands of victims and first responders to the worst wildfires in California history. Other examples that speak to Copia’s ability to scale quickly, handle large volumes of food, and navigate high-security situations include food recovery at the 2017 Oscars, PAC 12 championships, and Superbowl 50.

What is the onboarding process?

  1. Fill out this form and join one of the online Q&A webinar sessions. Practice Greenhealth will then connect you with Copia.
  2. Discuss plan options with Copia and sign Copia’s standard service agreement. You can also find us on Vizient for streamlined purchasing decisions (national Vizient contract number: FD3190).
  3. Submit pickup address and instructions for driver.
  4. Select bag option (self-ordered, existing boxes, or Copia bags).
  5. Download Copia’s app.
  6. Train staff via Copia’s 30-minute virtual training.
  7. Begin donating!

How soon can we arrange a first pick-up? 

If you can provide your own donation bags or use existing boxes in your kitchen, onboarding can be done in as few as 2-3 days. If you require Copia’s donation bags to be shipped to your location, you can expect them to be delivered within 3-5 business days of placing your order.

Is there liability for donating kitchens? 

There is no liability associated with food donations. There are federal and state laws (Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act) that protect you and your business from all liability when donating food in good faith. Additionally, all nonprofits who receive food for Copia, sign a hold-harmless indemnity agreement which releases your business from all liability the moment Copia takes the food.

Are their specifications to handle and package the food?

Through the Copia mobile app donation process, you’re asked to separate food categories and log the weight of each category. When you do this, you can choose to place these items in an aluminum tray or a fish bag, which you then place into donation bags or boxes. Copia does not provide aluminum trays or fish bags. Unopened, pre-packaged items or meals do not need to be separated, and you can log this as the “pre-packaged” category in Copia’s app.

For easy driver handling, Copia asks that you place donation categories into one of three courier transport options (each loaded with less than 40 pounds per box/bag):

  1. Pre-existing boxes that are in the kitchen (e.g., taped, assembled boxes from your food distributor). This is the preferred and most sustainable option.
  2. Self-Sourced plastic donation bags with reinforced handles and weight threshold of 25-40 pounds per bag.
  3. Copia-sourced recyclable plastic donation bags with reinforced handles. These cost an additional $2 per bag for delivery (in packs of 100), which should last for at least 30 donations (1 month with a daily donation subscription).

What type of food do you take? 

Copia can take 100% of everything that is good for someone to eat, including prepared food, hot or cold, frozen food, dry goods, dairy, ingredients, meat, everything!

How do you ensure food safety during transportation to the nonprofit recipient?

Food safety and feeding people good, healthy food is Copia’s top priority and primary mission. Donations are time-stamped automatically when you log the food in Copia’s app and food is delivered directly to the nonprofit in less than 30 minutes of pickup.  Drivers are professional food handlers and the nonprofit recipients provide the final layer of assessment to determine if the food is served.

What type of equipment and technology is needed to do this?

Copia provides a software app that is available on both iOS and Android tablets, so all you need is at least one device in the kitchen to log donations. Your kitchen is allowed unlimited downloads if you would like to decentralize the donation process, allow staff to download the app on their phone and keep the entire team engaged in the food donation process. 

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