The Alaska Legislature has passed a bill that could cut down on the amount of food that's wasted in Alaska, as well as boost donations to local food banks.

House Bill 186 takes away the liability that could come if someone gets sick from eating donated food. It applies to individuals, restaurants, hotels and grocery stores who donate food to nonprofits.

Healy Representative David Talerico sponsored the bill. Talerico said he was concerned that 15 percent of Alaskans face issues with hunger, and many of them are children.

"There are a lot of kids involved in that particular situation that don't have enough food," said Talerico. "We can't resolve the entire situation but that was the inspiration to look around and see if there's anything we can do."

Cara Durr with the Food Bank of Alaska said she wasn't sure how the bill would affect them. She said they already collect 5,000,000 pounds of food a year from local stores. But, she added that anything that could stop food from being thrown away would get their support.

"I think this bill does a great job of raising awareness about the issue and getting us to really think and start the conversation about what we can do better and rescue more food," said Durr.

Catholic Social Services has two programs that might benefit from the bill, according to David Rittenburg, who directs CSS's Saint Francis House Food Pantry. Both the Brother Francis Shelter and Clare House accept prepared food from the public to feed clients.

Rittenberg said the bill might make people feel more comfortable donating food. to the programs. Rittenberg wanted to emphasize that anyone donating food to a shelter or charity needs to call first to make sure it's a donation they can really use.

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