Your Guide to Food Access in Philadelphia
Finding free or discounted food in Philadelphia is tough, and it really does not have to be, especially during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A food pantry/food bank may just be down the road or you may be eligible for Meals on Wheels!
Use this free guide to find food at pantries or food banks, discover benefits programs, and find a location for yourself, your family, and for senior citizens and college students alike.
Types of Places to Get Food
There are an estimated 700 food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Philadelphia. Although these programs keep families from going hungry each day, they struggle to keep up with the growing number of people coming to them for help. You can also find low-cost groceries in Philadelphia, as well as farmer’s markets in Philadelphia, if you prefer.
Food pantries, also known as food banks
Food pantries offer produce and staple items in your district. Please call the pantry before you go to double check their hours of operation. The area’s largest food bank, Share Food Program, is depicted below. They also have an on-site community garden and affordable groceries! Some agencies require a referral, ID, or proof of address.
Soup kitchens offer free meals in your district, regardless of age or income. Please call the soup kitchen before going to double check the hours of operation. Some agencies require a referral, ID, or proof of address.
Benefits and Programs to Consider
There is a number of benefits and programs for you to consider. Whether it’s for yourself as a senior citizen, or for your family of two young kids. There are also low-cost groceries in Philadelphia available here, which are not covered below.
Review the benefits and programs below to see which ones are right for you. There are many benefits available in the city of Philadelphia. From Food Pantries to WIC, you’ll be sure to find something that fits your current situation.
SNAP / Food Stamps
SNAP is one of the first lines of defense against hunger in the United States. Previously known as food stamps, SNAP can help put healthy food on the table by providing monthly assistance to purchase food at authorized groceries, corner stores, and farmers’ markets in Philadelphia.
Food stamps, which are benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are based on income and resources and are administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). You apply for SNAP benefits at the state level, and states differ in some aspects regarding criteria for qualifying (for example, some states do not count a primary vehicle as an asset for purposes of determining resources). In all cases, however, you need to meet certain income and resource limits to qualify for SNAP benefits.
Residents of Philadelphia, Bucks, and Chester counties can call the Coalition Against Hunger to submit an application over the phone via the SNAP Hotline: 215-430-0556. Hotline counselors will submit a SNAP application for you over the phone and provide assistance throughout the application process.They can also help resolve problems with your application or SNAP case.
To apply for multiple benefits, including SNAP, TANF, LIHEAP, health insurance, and energy assistance, call BenePhilly: 844-848-4376.
Women, infants, and children (WIC)
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, more popularly known as WIC, is a program that provides free supplemental foods, health screenings, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support to low income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. All services are free.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a program that delivers meals to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals.
School / Youth Meals
Amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, be sure to call or email your school district to ask what the plan is for school meals during this school closure. The City has listed locations on a map of where you can pick up school meals.
Who can get these benefits?
This ranges from families with kids, along with senior citizens, college students, and adults with disAbilities. Most programs do have a certain income-level to be able to qualify. For more in-depth information, see this food benefits by location guide or find out what food benefit programs are right for you.
Families with kids
Summer meals and school meals help to give kids the nutrition they need to stay healthy so that they can learn and grow. Each program helps to fight hunger and obesity by reimbursing groups like schools, child care centers, and after-school programs for serving healthy meals to children.
Getting healthy, affordable food can be harder as you grow older. You can find free resources and programs for senior citizens in Philadelphia that can help stretch your dollar to make sure you have the food you need.
If you struggle with cooking or shopping, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA) and other local organizations can deliver meals to your home.
What programs are good for me?
Good questions! Explore this infographic to determine which food benefits program is right for you and your particular situation.
Check out the comprehensive Philly Food Finder guide by your specific neighborhood (district)
Looking for more information on how to access food benefits programs by your specific location? Please see this comprehensive food guide for you to access by your specific location.
As of March 23 at 8:00 AM, you need to stay at home or in a shelter. Keep in mind that ordering ahead is now required as you need to continue picking up food at grocery stores, school meal site, or another food site.