As food pantries struggle to provide meals for increasing numbers, some states have recently passed laws to protect donor restaurants from civil liability, which makes "it easier for restaurants to donate leftover food to charities", according to USA Today.
Ross Fraser of Feeding America, a national association of food banks, says the demand for free meals rose by an average of 30% in 2008, but some areas saw an increase of up to 70%.
The article discusses changes in laws in Mississippi, Nevada, Massachusetts, California, and Florida. It is also noted by USA Today that
Food donors are protected from liability by the 1996 federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, but it does not supersede state and local restrictions on food donations, says Maureen Ryan, spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association.