Food Pantries & Soup Kitchens

person handing a food of place to another person

Many families struggle to afford the cost of groceries. Food pantries and soup kitchens are two resources that help make food more accessible. 

What is the difference between a food pantry and a soup kitchen?  

Both are community food resources that collect donated food products to distribute back into the community. However, food pantries will typically give a package of stable-shelf food and fresh food enough to last a few days to cook at home while soup kitchens only provide a single meal. Some food pantries may also offer non-food items such as personal hygiene products, baby supplies, and pet food.

Who is eligible for food pantries and soup kitchens? 

Eligibility for food pantries depends on the location. Some may require you to provide proof of residency, Identification card, and/or household size amount.  

Typically, there are no eligibility requirements to eat a meal at a soup kitchen.  

When are food pantries and soup kitchens open?  

Hours for food pantries and soup kitchens vary by location. It is always best to call before arriving to make sure the site is open and accepting walk-in visitors. 

How can I find a food pantry or soup kitchen near me?  

Visit and type “food pantry” or “soup kitchen” into the search bar, along with your location. You can also call 2-1-1 to speak with a call specialist at NC 211 who can search for resources on your behalf.  

Need more information? 

Call 2-1-1 or 1-888-892-1162 to speak with an NC 211 call specialist.

Last updated 10/27/2022

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