What Food Services Are Available for Homeless Persons?


Quick Answer

Food services for the homeless include food stamps, homeless shelter and soup kitchen meals and programs created by nongovernmental agencies, such as The Salvation Army and Coalition for the Homeless, which distributes food to homeless citizens in New York City. Food services for the homeless vary depending on location; in some places, more resources exist for assistance than in other areas.

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Full Answer

Under federal law, all citizens in the United States who classify as homeless may use food stamps and can take advantage of the SNAP program, say authors at the Food Research and Action Center. Food stamps essentially act as currency; with them, homeless and other less-fortunate people can purchase groceries and enjoy meals at participating restaurants (in certain areas). Food stamps are also used towards meals at homeless shelters and soup kitchens. However, those establishments can only request, not demand, food stamp payment for food, notes the Food Research and Action Center.

In addition to the federal food stamp program, homeless people may get food through the services of The Salvation Army and local organizations. The Salvation Army works nationwide, often in coordination with local groups, to provide homeless people food through soup kitchens, food pantries and community gardens.

In New York City, a group called Coalition for the Homeless provides mobile food services. Staff members deliver healthy meals throughout the city every day, using several vans to make more than 20 stops. In addition to food, this organization delivers other basic necessities like gloves, hats and coats.

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