Christmas can be a wonderful time, but if you struggle with food insecurity, it could be incredibly stressful. Here are organizations that might help provide you and your family with a free Christmas dinner.
Christmas is a magical time of year. However, along with that comes a lot of pressures.
There is often pressure to have a lot of gifts and a big meal, to attend events, to host friends and family.
The holiday season can be wonderful, but it can also be extremely stressful, especially for those who suffer from food insecurity.
I am ashamed to say that I didn’t realize how common food insecurity was in my own city until I became involved with the Junior League.
We work with many organizations including. multiple food banks, Meals on Wheels, and even run our own diaper bank.
Working with these organizations opened my eyes to the need in our area. I know that no one deserves to be hungry on any day, but Christmas day especially, food should not be a worry.
Here is a list of organizations that offer food assistance in the forms of food pantries, food baskets, and hot meals on Christmas.
Organizations that provide free food for Christmas dinners
Your local food bank
I always recommend starting with your local food bank when looking for local agencies.
The Food Bank itself will likely have a meal program. This could be a food pantry, Christmas food baskets, or a hot meal on or around the holiday.
However, even more valuable than that one meal is the knowledge that the staff at the food bank have.
Food Banks are a hub for their communities. The employees are often very well versed in the local services available to low income families and those who have fallen on a hard time.
Reach out to your local food bank and ask them what Christmas assistance programs exist in your area. You might be surprised at what all they have to offer.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army offers a wide variety of meal programs year round. They also offer special holiday meal programs.
Most Salvation Army locations offer some sort of grocery and food assistance. This is free food that can even be delivered to your home.
This is more like a food pantry and is typically uncooked grocery type foods.
Many Salvation Army locations also host holiday parties and events. These are great opportunities to get some free food. They might serve a hot meal or just have snacks.
The best way to find out what your Salvation Army has to offer is to contact your local Salvation Army location.
Local Religious Organizations
Many religious organizations offer special programs at Christmas time, and you do not need to be a member to benefit from them.
It may take some asking around, but this is a great place to look for a one time hot meal.
The Lion’s Club
Lion’s Clubs offer a variety of programming throughout the year, but almost all of them offer Christmas assistance.
This could be free Christmas food baskets, a hot meal, or even gift programs.
Use their location finder to search your zip code to find the club nearest you and see what programs they have available – many provide Christmas dinner or Christmas presents to those who they can.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels delivers hot meals to the door of homebound (and often elderly) people all year long.
They also often expand their reach and offer hot meals to anyone who needs one around the holiday season.
You can search your zip code on their website to see what services they might be able to offer to you.
Looking for more local resources this holiday season? Here is a great list broken down state-by-state!
Here is a list of organizations that can help with free Christmas presents, too.
Be sure to check out all of our community resource pages:
Did I miss any organizations that provide meals on Christmas?
Thanks for reading!