San Mateo free food banks and pantries.

Families who need help obtaining food or that may be facing hunger can turn to a local San Mateo County food pantry. Distribution centers operate in cities and towns across the region, and they provide meals, groceries, lunches, and emergency assistance to qualified individuals. The locations will do their best to not turn anyone away. Some of the San Mateo pantries can direct residents to other food assistance programs as well, including CalFresh or WIC.

Many pantries distribute food boxes as needed to the low income, seniors, unemployed, and needy in San Mateo County. Some centers can also serve a hot meal for lunch or dinner, but this is only at select locations. Some of the charities operate soup kitchens, and this is where that form of aid comes from.

Many of the food boxes passed out contain non-perishable items, but from time to time fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, and meats may be offered. Normally a family can only use the services of a pantry in San Mateo a limited number of times per year, so be aware of any terms or conditions that apply. In addition, do not hesitate to explore programs such as CalFresh (food stamps), USDA summer meal programs, and other government commodities.

Coastside Hope
99 Avenue Alhambra, El Granada California, 94018
(650) 726-9071
Offers food and other human services for local residents. Some of the emergency services include free food boxes, casework, Brown Bag food program, Meals on Wheels for the homebound and the Family Harvest Program. Other aid can be rent help and even immigration counseling.

Daly City Community Service Center
350 - 90th Street, 1st Floor
Daly City California 94015
Call for hours (650) 991-8007





Fair Oaks Community Center
2600 Middlefield Road
Redwood City CA 94063
Main number is (650) 780-7500

Grace Covenant Church Abundant Harvest Food Pantry
Address of pantry 740 Del Monte Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Only open first Saturday morning of the month, and the center distributes free food, groceries and even fresh produce to the needy. A lottery service is used to determine who gets help first.

North Peninsula Food Pantry And Dining Center Of Daly City
31 Bepler Street, Daly City California 94014
(650) 994-5150
Need to make an appointment to use the food pantry. The center distributes emergency food boxes (as needed) in northern San Mateo County California. A hot meal is also offered a few days per week.

North Peninsula Neighborhood Services Center, Inc.
600 Linden Avenue
South San Francisco, CA 94080

Pacifica Resource Center, A Project Of The Tides Center
1809 Palmetto Avenue
Pacifica CA 94044
Primary telephone - (650) 738-7470
Offers social services, including food, clothing, and maybe limited financial aid for items like medications or bills.

Puente De La Costa Sur. Puente Resource Center
620 North Street
Pescadero CA 94060




Redwood City Corps Salvation Army
Address is 660 Veterans Blvd.
Redwood City CA 94063
(650) 368-4643
A leading church based charity in San Mateo County. The free food pantry has groceries, baby formula, and more. There are also Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, applications to food stamps, and other benefits.

South San Francisco Citadel Corps of Salvation Army
409 South Spruce Avenue
South San Francisco, California 94080
Both of the Salvation Army locations above administer a number of programs and social services. Some of what is offered includes a food pantry and clothing closet. Thanksgiving and Christmas meals and gifts may be distributed. Also call for referrals or applications for programs such as HEAP, rental assistance, and other aid.

Samaritan House
Main address - 4031 Pacific Blvd.
San Mateo California 94403
Call (650) 344-1651
Need to call to make an appointment.

Ecumenical Hunger Program
Main address: 2411 Pulgas Avenue
East Palo Alto, CA 94303
Many assistance programs are offered. They operate a clothing closet, food pantry, back to school supplies, women's and children's support group, Christmas food baskets, and offer referral to other agencies. There is also free furniture, hygiene items, diapers, and more.

Saint Vincent De Paul Society Of San Mateo County (SVDP)
2411 Pulgas Avenue
East Palo Alto, California 94303
Phone - 650-343-4403
/basic needs are given. Assistance includes financial aid, but there is also groceries, meals for the homeless, and food programs for single moms and kids. Immigrants and Spanish speakers can also get help from the church.

Second Harvest Food Bank of San Mateo Counties
750 Curtner Avenue
San Jose CA 95125
(650) 610-0800
The center distributes non-marketable and surplus food to nonprofit agencies, charities, and churches that provide meals or food boxes to low-income individuals and families. Also, the Food Connection provides information, advice and referral to persons in need of food.

Low-income seniors, age 60 or over or disabled persons age 55 or over, can get help from the Brown Bag Program. Another service is Partner in Need, or PIN, which is a program for low-income people and families, and they can receive food in exchange for volunteering three hours at the Food Bank. The Produce Mobile provides vegetables and fresh fruits in low-income neighborhoods. Kids NOW provides weekly meals, food, and so called "kid friendly" groceries to low-income children in San Mateo. Last, but not least, Family Harvest Program provides educational services and food for low-income families with minor dependent children.





St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room
Address: 3500 Middlefield Road
Menlo Park California 94025
Dial (650) 365-9665
The Clothing Distribution Center distributes free work, school, winter coats, and other clothing items to women and children. The St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room provides free hot lunches in San Mateo County. Seasonal aid includes Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter meals.

St. Francis Center
151 Buckingham, Redwood City California 94063
Phone number is (650) 365-7829
Needy families in Menlo Park and Redwood City can get two bags of food per month. Clothing can be provided too.

There are dozens of other feeding sites in the county. Food pantries, soup kitchens, places for Christmas or Thanksgiving meals, and non-profits work to end hunger. In addition, benefit programs are also available from the state of California as well as federal government. For more details on how to get free groceries, food, and other support call 800-984-3663.

By Jon McNamara

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