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7 Easy Ways to Get Free Food for Seniors

7 Easy Ways to Get Free Food for Seniors

We’ve found free food for seniors through seven different programs and agencies. Most of these programs are exclusively for seniors, so don’t miss this list! 

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SNAP

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, provides a flat amount of money that can be used to buy free food for seniors and people of all ages! The money is transferred to an EBT card, which can be used like a debit card to purchase eligible items from regular grocery stores. The average payout for this program is over $100 per person per month, which can make a big difference for low income seniors. 

USDA Commodities

The USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program serves low income seniors who are at least 60 years old. This program provides nutritious food, including a variety of fruit, juice, vegetables, milk, cheese, grains and protein, including plant-based protein. The foods are distributed every month to eligible seniors. To apply, you will need to contact your State Distributing Agency. Check here to find your local agency.

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Farmer’s Market Vouchers

The Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program helps low income seniors access locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs. The program provides vouchers that can be redeemed for produce at local farmer’s markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs.

The program is open to seniors who are at least 60 years old and earn 185% or less of the federal poverty guidelines. This program is typically run by senior centers and senior housing agencies, so please reach out to your local senior center for more information. 

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The Emergency Food Assistance Program 

The USDA operates a program called The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP. This program is designed to help supplement the diets of low income Americans and specifically offers free food for seniors. This program does not provide money for food; it provides food directly. 

According to the USDA website, the government purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality USDA foods and gives that food to State Distributing Agencies. Each state receives a certain amount of food, which is passed on to food banks, soup kitchens and agencies like the Community Action Council that can distribute the food directly to low income people.

Each state handles this program a little differently, but it’s always worth reaching out to your local Community Action Agency for help. Let them know you need help with food, and they may just be able to help you get some of that food from the Emergency Food Assistance Program!

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Senior Meals Programs

Congregate meal sites provide nutritionally balanced meals, as well as activities, informational speakers, and more. Thousands, if not millions, of seniors enjoy daily meals at senior centers around the United States. If you’re looking for a free hot meal in your area, call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. 

Meals on Wheels 

Alternatively, if you don’t want to leave your home, you can apply for Meals on Wheels. The Meals on Wheels program is actually coordinated by 5,000 independently-run local programs across the United States. Along with your nutritious meal, you’ll also get a friendly visit from your delivery person and a quick safety check to ensure that you’re doing well at home. 

Meals on Wheels primarily serves adults age 60 and older. The meals are provided on a sliding-scale payment schedule, with some seniors paying nothing at all and some paying a modest fee of about $3 per meal. This can usually be paid with food stamps (SNAP) benefits.

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The official Meals on Wheels America website states that “no senior will be denied a meal because of an inability to pay” so they definitely offer free food for seniors. However, some areas have very high demand and may have waitlists because so many people need help.  

Check the status of your local program here.

Food Banks

There are food banks all over the country that provide free food for seniors. Some food banks even have special hours set aside to serve seniors and disabled adults, so that you don’t have to deal with large crowds during regular hours. Others offer free delivery for homebound seniors. It all depends on the policies of your local pantry.

To find a food bank or food pantry in your area, please contact 211 for assistance. 

Get More Help for Seniors

We’ve found many ways that seniors can save money and get free stuff! Here’s what you need to know.

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Have too much month at the end of your money? Me too - and that's how Low Income Relief got started. I have over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Over the years, I've worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. My work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow.com, Livestrong.com, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald (Provo, Utah), The Chronicle (Centralia, WA) and others. At Low Income Relief, I use my professional research and reporting experience to help low income families save money and make ends meet. It's been my full-time job since 2016, and it's truly an honor to serve you.

Sandra Mclaughlin

Tuesday 31st of May 2022

I get disabilty but u have custody of my 9 yr old great neice also my check does not even cover my bills and I was told I get touch for food stamps .the state begged me to take this child and raise her but won't help me in any way not even with food I was told if I'd let her home in state custody foe 7 days I'd got lots of help. I wasn't going to do that to the child .shw was already heart broke enough for the way her parents to dine her.i can't get any help foe food or anything that's not right

Isaac

Friday 3rd of June 2022

Low Income Relief is an information service and does not provide cash or items directly. You will need to search our website for information about organizations that can help you meet those needs. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/

Elaine

Tuesday 18th of January 2022

I was in a community where Louisiana Home Demonstration Clubs were active, and 4 H Club participation was a must. I always use those things learned growing up, to eat very well on a modest food budget. The Government should sponsor classes on how to take advantage of sales, vegetables in season, menus, etc on how to eat nutritionally on a low budget. It should be mandatory for parents with young children who are getting aid. I write this with compassion because most were not taught.

APPENNETH

Monday 6th of December 2021

I will like to help seniors who leave in my area because most of them are struggling. I would like to know how do i go to get free food for them.

Isaac

Tuesday 7th of December 2021

The organizations in our list should be able to help you with this, but unfortunately Low Income Relief does not provide gifts, food or funds directly. You will need to contact the organizations in this list for assistance or chat with Lira! She should be able to help, https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/

Duane B Campbell

Sunday 17th of October 2021

Thanks for all you do, you have no idea of all the help your offer for so many people that watch your youtube and don’t say a word, I too am a YouTube’s creator, and I live on 34$ food stamps, it ain’t easy, yes I am a widower and live alone! But I have 5 cats I rescued years ago and a dog, it is hard to get food for them to and litter, and all that stuff, is there anything out there for that? I am 60 years old too!

Isaac

Monday 29th of November 2021

Thanks for letting us know! I’m glad we were able to help. Low Income Relief is an information service and does not provide cash or items directly. You will need to search our website for information about organizations that can help you meet those needs. Chat with Lira, she might be able to help! https://lowincomerelief.com/chat/