We are blessed in Phoenix to have an abundance of food, so much so many places are giving it away. The only requirement at most places is that you simply show up to take it. The kind of food bank/pantries I am focusing on in this post are those that give away perishable type items donated from Grocery Stores. This isn’t you average box of canned goods, many of the places on this list give away food that comes from Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Sprouts along with other stores. I know for a fact this has helped many families with rising food costs and made a big difference in other’s lives. So follow along below where I give you the scoop on the best ones in the valley. I will do a separate post on other organizations where you pay a little bit, these however are completely free.
1. Mission Kitchen 153 -partners with Won Last Chance and Fountain of Life Christian Fellowship and United Food Bank to feed as many people as possible!
Pick up times and hours:
Every Wednesday – 5:00pm-6:30pm
Emergency pick ups: 602-505-4664
Here is the address, note they no longer do Fridays.
When they first start, you sign in and receive a box of some pantry staple items and meat. Often times they also give away eggs, or organic baby products along in these food boxes. But don’t leave yet! After you put that box in your car, you want to head back to your place in line. At 5pm sharp they open the doors to a room they have set up like little grocery store and you simply help yourself. It can get a little chaotic and you don’t want to bring in children, strollers, etc if you can help it. It is a tight navigation but very worth it with the great food they giveaway. Every week it varies but there is always something your family will enjoy! Some of the stuff I have seen is dairy, tons of breads and desserts, sandwiches from Starbuck, fruit and veggies and so much more. Tip: bring your own bags and maybe folding chair while you wait in the line outside before it starts.
2. Chandler Christian Community Center-
This place is incredible! Not only do they run a FREE mobile food pantry EVERY Friday but they provide so many other services to the community as well. I have seen events from luncheons, free kids haircuts, free music classes, free diapers, etc. They also offer free childcare while you wait for your grocery cart on Fridays. It’s best to show up early around 7:30am to get your ticket for the free groceries. However they do not start distributing them until 9am. This is where that child care room comes in handy while you wait. Of course, you the parent are more than welcomed to stay there with them while they play in the nice air-conditioned room. You can also check out while you are there, the calendar with all the services and classes for the family. Everybody at this location is extremely helpful and joyful.
3. Matthew’s Crossing-
I had to include this one since it is only 5 min away from Chandler Christian Community Center. They also distribute on Friday, however this one you can only pick up ONCE a month. Unlike the other ones where you can go every week, because of this format it’s never really a long wait. You can walk in and be out with a cart full of great groceries in less than 5 min. They give you here meat, along with other higher end items.
If you have children in diapers, this is where you can ask for a diapers voucher. They will give you a slip with all the information where you can pick up around the corner diapers for free.
The first time you go, you will have to show some ID and fill out a registration form, after that you only sign in. There is a small little waiting room for children with books and some toys and children are allowed to choose one book to take home.
4. The Bridge Church-
This food bank is really nice and generous! They have a “Farmers Market” Style distribution every Tues, Wed, and Thurs and you can go to all three of them if you wanted. Most of the items are from Whole Foods which is really nice.
Besides the 3 times a week food distribution, they also give you a box once a month I believe of canned goods, pantry items, some toiletries etc. They also have a clothing closet in the back where they give you a bag to fill up for free. If you are in the Central Phoenix area, this is the best one to go to.
Tip: Bring something if you can to put your groceries in to haul them to your car.
5. St. Lukes at the Mountain
2nd & 4th Saturdays
St Luke’s Episcopal Church
848 E Dobbins Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85042
This one will always have a special place in my heart. It is an outdoor food pantry and watching those volunteers consistently work hard setting up, filling up carts and loading up in all the cars, then breaking down the set up is very much appreciated…especially in the dead of summer. The crew is wonderful. They even serve you a free breakfast while you wait for your number to be called! If you stick around to the end, they will gladly give you any leftovers. You do not need to show any ID here or register. You simple sing in on the sign up sheet and they will give you a ticket with a number on the back.
Arrive as early as possible.
Distribution starts around 6:00 AM and ends when the last car is loaded, usually between 7:00 AM & 7:30 AM
Once distribution starts, each page will be called and you drive your vehicle into the distribution area and volunteers load your vehicle.
NOTE: You do not select your own items. Volunteers put together the shares.
There are other food pantries that I also consider really great so stay tuned for a follow-up post!
If you know of another great food pantry please let us know in the comments. There are SO many it’s hard to keep track! Please SHARE this post with anybody in the valley that might benefit from this. Thank you!