Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens

What's the Difference?

Food Pantries are located throughout the state. They provide food to low-income residents. This food is picked up by residents at the local pantry and is prepared and consumed at home.

Soup Kitchens are locations that receive donated food and provide prepared meals for people with low income.

How to Find Help

We can help you find the food pantry or soup kitchen closest to your home. Dial 2-1-1 anytime of the day or night and speak with one of our resource specialists or search the 2-1-1 database (the search bar is at the top of every one of our web pages) using the search term "food" and choosing from the search categories provided to find the resource that best fits your needs. You can also text your zip code to 898-211 and we will text you information about resources in your community. Alternatively, you can send the text message NEEDFOOD from your cell phone to 84700 and a specialist from the SNAP hotline will call you back within one business day with locations and hours for area food pantries and soup kitchens.

Call Before you Go

Individual food pantries and soup kitchens have specific days and hours when they are open. They don’t always have food available. You should always call the food pantry or soup kitchen to find out when they are open and if they have food before you go. Most pantries offer a 3-5 day supply of healthy food for your family. When possible, pantries provide special items for those family members on restricted diets.

What to Bring

Most pantries will require some form of identification such as a Social Security card, Public Assistance or picture I.D. Many also require a referral letter from a social service agency such as the Board of Social Services, a community organization, or your place of worship to show proof of your need for assistance.

Research Sources Include

http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/wic/

http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/wic/senior-nutrition/

http://nj.gov/humanservices/dfd/programs/njsnap/apply/

http://www.endhungernj.org/