Free senior food programs are available across the country. Learn what food programs exist and where to find them in your community.
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Types of senior food programs
There are many different types of senior food programs. Here are some of the most common:
- The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a federal program. It provides monthly food boxes to people 60 years and older. Learn if you are eligible and how to apply for CSFP.
- Senior food box programs are monthly food boxers from local food banks. They include juice, cereal, canned foods, and refrigerated cheese. Some food banks also offer recipes and cooking or nutrition classes.
- Senior food pantries let you shop for free groceries. Also, many food banks and food pantries have special hours for seniors.
- Home food delivery is available from food banks, food pantries, or your local Meals on Wheels program. You may need to meet specific income or lifestyle requirements to qualify.
- Senior farmer’s markets help you buy fruits and vegetables from local farmer’s markets. These programs may host a farmer’s market or give out vouchers.
- Senior mobile pantries bring food to senior centers or other locations in your community.
- SNAP provides extra money each month to buy groceries at your favorite stores. We’re happy to help you with your SNAP application.
How to find food programs for seniors near you
Search by zip code to find your nearest food bank. Food banks help to run senior programs across the country. So even if the food bank looks far from your home, they know a program closer to your home.
Mobile Food Pantries
Mobile pantries bring free food and groceries to your community. Unlike traditional food pantries where you go to them, mobile pantry trucks go to you. They usually have a schedule and visit a community once a week or once a month.
You can pick up pre-packed grocery boxes full of healthy foods or shop farmers’ market-style and choose what you want. They usually have meat, fruits and veggies, dairy, bread, and ingredients for easy meals. Some may also have personal care items like laundry detergent or soap.
Mobile pantries usually visit churches, community centers, schools, shopping centers, and other convenient locations. They usually go to areas without grocery stores or other food pantries.
How do I find a mobile pantry?
Search by zip code to find your nearest food bank. Food banks help to run mobile pantries across the country. Even if the food bank looks far from your home, they probably know the pantry closer to you.
Food banks sometimes have an online mobile pantry schedule. There may be last-minute cancellations or changes, so recheck the schedule before you plan to go.
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You don’t need to apply for or sign up. Anyone who needs help with groceries can visit.
Staff may ask where you live or how many people are in your family. Knowing more about your family helps make sure you get enough food. The food bank may also have other programs you can join. When you check-in, you may need to show your ID or something with your address.
Are there other ways to get free groceries and food?
Our network of food banks and meal programs has many ways to help you and your family put food on the table.
Backpack food programs offer families free groceries for weekends and school breaks. Food backpacks include healthy, easy-to-prepare food for kid-friendly meals.
Food banks partner with schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and community centers to distribute backpacks to kids.
How do I find a BackPack Program near me?
The Feeding America network hosts over 10,000 Backpack Programs across the United States. Find a weekend backpack program by asking your school district or local food bank. Just enter your zipcode below.
Even if a food bank looks far away, they work with schools and youth programs closer to your home.
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What comes in the backpacks?
Every BackPack Program is unique. Most backpacks include enough food to make a few healthy meals. That way, kids return to school on Monday, ready to learn.
Backpacks may include:
- Breakfast items like cereal, oatmeal, or granola bars
- Easy to prepare meals like mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or canned soup
- Milk or juice
- Fresh or canned fruit
- Fresh or canned vegetables
How often can I get a food backpack?
BackPack Programs in the Feeding America network are required to provide meals at least once a month. Most programs give out backpacks every week on Fridays or the day before a school break. Programs usually take a break during summer. During the summer, they may host summer meal programs.
How can I help?
There are many ways you can help BackPack Programs across the country.
- Volunteer. Many BackPack programs rely on regular volunteers. Volunteers pack backpacks, set up distributions, and pass out backpacks to students.
- Donate. In 2022, network BackPack programs served over 54 million meals. You can support Feeding America or your local food bank.
- Host. If you want to become a backpack site, reach out to your nearest food bank. Feeding America distributes food and funds to partner food banks.
- Find Free Food and Groceries
- If you need food today
- Your local food bank can help you find food today, even if you need temporary help. They partner with food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal programs in your local community to give away free food.
- Enter your zip code to find the food bank partnering with Feeding America. They’ll share the locations and hours of nearby food distributions.
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- Federal programs that can help
- Many federal programs are available whether you are here for the first time or have used food assistance.
- Some federal programs have made changes following the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Learn what those changes mean for you.
- View the site for the below:
Programs for your situation
Help for families with a child or teen
Help for families with babies or young kids
Help for people over 60
Help for people who have experienced a disaster
Help for people with disabilities
Other programs that help make ends meet
Help with tax credits and tax filing
Help with health insurance
Help with heat, electricity, utility and internet bills
Help for other family needs