Below you will find a compilation of resources related to finding free and affordable food, shopping with maximum savings, and food preparation. We understand this may be a lot of information to take in at once, so we suggest you explore the page in any order you feel comfortable and reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice if needed.
These are some food pantries and events you can access across Philadelphia, but far from all. You can find more pantries and food banks by looking through the maps listed on the "Maps" tab or by searching "food resource map" and similar terms on Google. Some organizations will require you to reach out to them before you can receive help, while others are open for anyone to come at the listed times. If you need help, do not hesitate to ask for it.
- Cherry Pantry — Temple's bigger pantry that is open for all students but may not have non-food items and has a limit on how much a student can take.
- Philabundance — an organization with a mission to drive hunger away from Philadelphia communities. Has a tool to find food banks as well as some events and initiatives of their own.
- Philly House: Meals for All — Philly House provides meals to guests three times a day, dedicated to supporting people in need and help with housing issues.
- Bebashi — a non-profit organization that hosts multiple health services, including hunger relief through a food pantry.
- Saint Mark's Church Food Cupboard and Saturday Soup Bowl — the Church provides food help to locals and serves soup to the community every Saturday.
- Old Pine Community Center — provides food care packages.
- Mazzoni Center: Food Bank — Mazzoni Center is dedicated to supporting LGBTQ communities and individuals. If you identify as LGBTQ, you can reach out to use their food bank and other essential services.
The following links will lead you to interactive maps, which you can use to find food banks and pantries near you and all over Philadelphia. While some of these maps may contain some similarities, it is worth exploring several of them if you are struggling to find a reliable source of help for yourself.
While social media may not be the first on your mind when looking for food resources, there is a wealth of useful information hidden across sites like Reddit and Instagram. Below are some suggestions for you to explore.
- Reddit communities dedicated to budgeting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while spending less: r/budgetfood, r/budget, r/eatcheapandvegan, r/eatcheapandhealthy
- Reddit communities dedicated to making cooking easier and more efficient: r/cookingforbeginners, r/mealprepsunday, r/veganmealprep. If you are unfamiliar with the concept of "meal prep", looking up some explanations might be helpful. Generally, "meal prep" refers to preparing large portions of food in a single day that can be combined into different meals throughout the week without additional cooking.
In addition to social media, the internet provides a lot of resources to make food and cooking more manageable:
- MyFridgeFood — this website shows you recipes based on the ingredients you choose, making it easy to prepare a meal with what is already in your fridge.
- GoodCheapEats — a collection of budget-friendly recipes.
- Philly Food Finder Guide — explains how to find a food pantry that you could use, and what other resources are available to you in Philadelphia. It is a good starting place if everything seems too much and overwhelming.
- Community Resource Connects — a search system that allows you to find both food and non-food related resources by your zip code.
When on a budget, it is important to know shopping strategies that will help you save money and still get good food and everyday items. With that in mind, we compiled some information for you on different aspects of shopping.
- Where to shop: Aldi and Shop Rite are some of the cheapest chain grocery stores in Philadelphia. Local Asian markets also provide good quality produce for lower price. Some of these markets are located in Chinatown, but if you live on campus you could also look into New Spring Garden Market and H Mart. Cooking appliances and dishware can be found at a low or same price at thrift stores and discount stores like Ross or TJ Maxx. Discount stores may also carry shelf-stable foods like jam or pickles. Make sure to double-check that you are not overpaying for an item before getting it.
- Saving strategies: Try to buy store's own brand. It is cheaper and often of equal quality to brand products. When buying produce, compare price per ounce of weight to get the best deal. Keep in mind, however, that buying in bulk (a lot of one item at once) is not always more efficient, even if it may seem mathematically better. You need to be sure you can use and enjoy the food you buy.
- Reward programs: Enroll into rewards programs like CVS ExtraCare for bigger savings. Reward programs usually let you accumulate points and receive discounts in exchange for receiving some promotional emails or SMS. Some stores will give you a plastic card when you sign up for rewards, while others will ask you to fill in your phone number or download an app. You can ask a cashier if a store has a rewards program when you're unsure.
- Apps to use for shopping: Yuka app uses its database to evaluate the quality of food and cosmetics based on ingredients, sometimes revealing high-quality cheap products. TooGoodToGo app lets you buy cheap and fresh leftovers from nearby stores and restaurants.