Free Food and Assistance Programs for New York Families

 

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The pandemic has deprived many New York citizens of the financial and physical means to feed themselves and their families. Various programs around the city are running to ensure that no one is without food. Featured in this article is a list of such programs that will provide free food in New York.

If you are struggling and need information and directions for immediate help, please call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777 or 311

Or for more options, call USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273).

Parents, if you need some easy and prepared meals at home for the kids, check out Ready-Made Kids’ Lunches.

SNAP, or Food Stamps

The first option is SNAP, more commonly known as Food Stamps. This is a federal program that provides low- and no-income people the means to purchase food. 

This food assistance program covers the basic food products and creates steady support that allots money based on income and number of family members. 

To see if you qualify in the state of New York and apply, please visit ny.gov/services/apply-snap.

Food Banks

New York has a whole system of food banks throughout the city. Since Covid, they have switched to a “grab and go” method to minimize exposure for the volunteers and patrons.

To find a food bank closest to you, please visit this foodbanknyc.org/get-help/

They also have a mobile food bank operating this February. For more information on that and where it will be headed, please visit foodbanknyc.org/get-help.

community fridge for food assistance in Brooklyn
Community Fridge on N 6th St and Driggs Ave in Brooklyn

Community Fridges

Known by several different names, free and communal fridges have popped up around the city. Run by volunteers, it is an endeavor built entirely on trust. 

People can take what they want or leave what they want. Restaurants are encouraged to donate to mitigate food waste while simultaneously helping their fellow New Yorkers. Again, people are encouraged to take this food at absolutely no cost.

While fridges tend to pop up randomly in neighborhoods (so keep a lookout ) please check out @thefriendlyfridge on Instagram for a current list and map of community fridges.

 

Food Delivery 

Long-term meal delivery services often have eligibility requirements yet are worth applying for if you feel that you fall into their checklist of requirements for food service.  Here is a list of some notable organizations. 

Citymeals on Wheels

  • One meal per day
  • Designed to provide 1/3 of the daily nutritional needs for the elderly
  • Must be 60 years or older to participate

God’s Love We Deliver

  • Supplies lunch and dinner five days a week
  • Meals tailored to a person’s ailments
  • Requires a serious and verifiable illness for delivery

GetFoodNYC

  • Two deliveries per week, and each delivery meant to last roughly three days
  • Feeds two people per household
  • Must be unable to afford food to qualify
  • The least stringent requirements out of these three programs

Neighborhood and Religious Associations

Separate from the more prominent food organizations, a lot of neighborhoods and religious affiliates have banded together for small, independent programs to help people. Dozens of worthwhile and more intimate food stands exist throughout the boroughs dedicated to providing free food.

Below are some links that lead to extensive lists of such places, broken up by neighborhood.

Brooklyn

For a more complete list of various Brooklyn organizations dedicated to providing free food, please visit this freefood.org.

Excluded from this list, but worth mentioning is:

St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church Pantry

Address: 157 Montague Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States

Time: Tuesdays from 10:30 am – 12 pm

This is a pop-up pantry. Their pick-up time is on Tuesdays. The pantry is a warm and friendly place that provides grains, protein, fruits, and veggies. They distribute food on a first-come-first-served basis and run off of donations. If you wish to donate, they prefer to receive them on weekdays 9 am – 4 pm.

Manhattan

For a more complete list of various Manhattan organizations dedicated to providing free food, visit this link.  

Queens

For a more complete list of various organizations in Queens dedicated to providing free food, please visit homelessshelterdirectory.org.

The Bronx

For a more complete list of various organizations in the Bronx dedicated to providing free food, please visit freefood.org.

Staten Island

For a more complete list of various Staten Island organizations dedicated to providing free food, please visit hungryonstatenisland.com.