Food Resources

Free Community Meals

Free Lunches

Salvation Army
Address: 402 Mass Ave. (between MIT and Central Square)
Phone Number: 617-547-3400
Hours: weekdays at 12:00 PM, Sat. at 11:30 AM, Sun. at 1:00 PM

Shelter Inc.
Address: 109 School St.
Eligibility: for homeless women only
Phone Number: (617) 547-1885
Hours: weekdays at 11:30 AM

Free Dinners

Sunday – Saturday

University Lutheran Church (Harvard Square Homeless Shelter)
Address: 66 Winthrop St. Harvard Square
Hours: 7:30 pm- 12:00 am November 15th – April 15th


Cambridge Commons (Park)
Address: near Harvard Square (Between Massachusetts Ave. and Garden St.)
Hours: 5:00 PM, May 1 – Oct 15

St. James Church
Address: 1991 Mass Ave, Porter Square
Hours: 5:00 pm-7:15 pm


Mass Ave. Baptist Church
Address: 146 Hampshire St., Inman Square
Phone Number: (617) 868-4853
Hours: 6:00 PM

The First Congregational Church of Somerville
Address: 95 College Ave., Davis Square
Phone Number: (617) 776-7687
Hours: 5:00 PM


First Parish Church
Address: 3 Church St., Harvard Square
Phone Number: 617-876-7772
Hours: 5:30 PM


Salvation Army
Address: 402 Mass Ave (between MIT and Central Square)
Phone Number: (617) 547-3400
Hours: 5:00 PM


Christ Church
Address: Zero Garden St.
Phone Number: (617) 876-0200
Hours: 6:00 PM

Union Baptist Church
Address: 874 Main St., Central Square
Phone Number: (617) 864-6885
Hours: 5:00

Women’s Gathering Place
Address: 1991 Mass Ave, Porter Square
Eligibility: Women Only
Hours: 5:45


Mass. Ave. Baptist Church
Address: 146 Hampshire St., Inman Square
Phone Number: (617) 868-4853
Hours: 6:00 PM


Pilgrim Congregational Church
Address: 35 Magazine St., Central Square
Phone Number: (617) 497-7277
Hours: 5:30

Food Pantries

Call to verify hours and requirements for access. ALSO, find a comprehensive list of MA food pantries in the NSP office’s Food Programs folder.

Project Soup Pantries

Grace Baptist Church
Address: 59 Cross St.
Hours: Mon (10-2), Tue (10-2), Wed (12-4), Th (3-6), Fri (10-2)

St. Polycarp’s Rectory
Address: 100 Temple St.
Hours: Tue (3-5), Sat (10-12)

Clarendon Hills Housing Development
Address: 258R Powderhouse Blvd.
Hours: Wed (11-2)

Cambridge Senior Center
Address: Central Square
Phone Number: (617)-349-6060
available to residents of Cambridge over 55 only. Stop in for application.

Fair Food, Inc.

Bring your own bags to any of the Fair Food locations. For a dollar a bag, Get either: a variety pack of produce, five loaves of bread, two boxes of sweets, or specialty foods for just one dollar. NO ID required

St. Paul’s Church
29 Mt. Auburn St
Sat 10-11

Cobblehill Apts
84 Washington St
Tue 2-3:30

Mt. Pleasant Apts 70 Perkins St Tue 3:30-5

Food Stamps

What they are:

Food stamps are often thought of as a welfare program, but this is incorrect. Food stamps are actually a program offered through the federal Department of Agriculture to help low-income individuals and families afford food. Recipients are given an electronic card, similar to a debit card, which can be used to purchase food.

Who is eligible for food stamps?

Single people, families, the elderly, working couples – all types of people receive food stamps. How much one will receive, if approved, is based primarily on income, assets, family composition and certain household expenses.

How to get them:

The State of Massachusetts prefers online applications, which can be found at:
(click here for the online application)
(click here to download the application in English)
(click here to download the application in Spanish)
(click here to download the application in Portuguese)

Mail and fax applications are also acceptable, and can be directed to the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). The DTA for Cambridge and Somerville is in Revere. Directions to there from the shelter are available here.

Alternatively, the Community Action Agency of Somerville (CAAS – 66-70 Union Square, Suite 104) will be hosting two DTA workers every Wednesday from 9:00 – 5:00 who will be able to assist people with new food stamp applications and new cash assistance applications. CAAS can be reached through Melissa McWhinney at 617-623-1392 x. 108, or at [email protected]

Some proof is required for applicants, since income and expenses are factored in when determining the value of food stamps.
• ID: a driver’s license, health card, or birth certificate
• Social Security Numbers (for citizens and permanent residents – cannot be an H-1 or student visa, and undocumented people cannot get food stamps)
• No need for proof of citizenship
• Proof of non-citizen residency status (either a green card or a visa)
• Proof of all of past month’s income (referral for no-income or self-declared no income must make sense given expenditures)
• Proof of past month’s housing and utility services
• Proof of other allowable expenses (day care and child support)
• Proof of medical expenses if over the age of 60 or disabled
• Proof of assets if no children under the age of 19

How long does it take to get them?

The DTA is required to get benefits within 30 days of receiving an application, and must receive all required proof within 30 days. The required proof is an ID and an address. One question on the application is “Are you Homeless?” When applying, applicants should try to prove as many expenses as possible to receive more benefits.

Are there different types of food stamps?

Yes. There are both emergency food stamps and expedited food stamps, in addition to standard food stamps. However, natural disasters do not count as immediate emergencies for food stamps, and neither do fires.

Expedited food stamps give benefits in 7 days, and not all documentation is required. The best way to get them is to apply in person. One is eligible for expedited food stamps if:
• The combination of a person’s income and money in bank are less than housing expenses or
• if a person’s income is less than $150 per month and their assets are less than $100

Application tips

One needs to have the mailing address to apply. UNILU in certain cases gives a mailing address to guests. Check in with the directors about this. Applicants also need daytime telephone numbers.

An RA cannot serve as a reference, but the shelter itself can be an applicant’s representative (not an authorized representative, though).

DTA is not going to turn people into Homeland Security, but undocumented persons are not eligible for food stamps. However, if someone in a person’s family is documented, the undocumented person can apply for the documented person in their family without proof of his/her own documentation.

Applications are only valid with the applicant’s signature. Questions on the application can be skipped, as there is a follow-up interview that covers all unanswered questions. The person filling out the application is not liable for any misinformation from the applicant.

Additional information is available from Project Bread at or through the Food Source hotline at 1-800-645-8333. They also have an online benefits calculator at

A final useful resource is the Cambridge Economic Opportunity Council, at 11 Inman Street, with the phone number (617) 868-2900. They are open Monday & Wednesday 9am-6pm; and Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 9am-5pm.

Nutrition Tips and Information

1. Eat whole grains at most meals
* Types of Whole Grains: Whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal
* Whole grains provide the body with energy as well as vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients such as fiber.

2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day
*A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can decrease the chances of having a heart attack or stroke, protect against certain types of cancer, and lower blood pressure.

3. Avoid eating white rice, white bread, potatoes, pasta and sweets whenever possible
* These foods can lead to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic disorders due to a fast and furious increase in blood sugar. Choose whole grains rather than white grains.

4. Eat breakfast every morning
*People who eat breakfast think better and faster, remember more, and are mentally sharper than those who skip breakfast.

5. Drink plenty of water
*Getting dehydrated can increase fatigue.

6. Keep carbohydrates, protein, and fat in a healthy balance
*Healthy Carbohydrates: Whole grain breads, whole-grain cereal, oatmeal, fruit, vegetables
*Healthy Protein: Yogurt, eggs, skim or 1% milk, chicken, turkey, fish, tofu
*Healthy Fat: Nuts (almonds, walnuts), avocado, peanut butter

7. When there is an option, do not eat just what is given just to provide calories, but ask or search for a healthier option.
*Healthy foods provide nutrients that will provide a person with energy, prevent diseases, and allow a person to live a healthier and longer life.
*Eating unhealthy foods over time can lead to malnutrition and obesity, which can lead to other serious, life-threatening diseases such as heart disease and Type II diabetes.