Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

Where To Get Free Food, Low-Cost Meals

Updated list of food pantries, meal distribution sites and more.

By , Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service - Jul 28th, 2021 11:10 am
If you have a child who was less than 6 years old on Oct. 1, 2020, and you were enrolled in FoodShare, you are likely eligible to receive money for meals, even if you picked up meals from school distribution sites like this one at ALBA School. Photo by Adam Carr/NNS.

Photo by Adam Carr/NNS.

If you or someone you know needs food, here is information on where to find food pantries, meal distribution sites and meals for children as well as pay-what-you-can options, meal delivery programs and information on how to get money for buying groceries. This information is updated regularly.

Do you know of a resource that is not listed here? Text “MKE” to 73224 and let us know!

Find a food pantry near you

If you are looking for food now, the best place to start is by using the following resources. These resources can connect you to food pantries and meal sites within your ZIP code.

The Hunger Task Force has created an interactive map complete with soup kitchens, MPS meal sites, non-MPS meal sites, mobile markets, meal sites for seniors and more. You can search by ZIP code or by resource type to find what you are looking for at a location near you. The map is updated daily but call the location before you visit to make sure it is still open.

Feeding America also has an interactive map of food pantries and meal programs located across Wisconsin. The map is updated regularly but call the location before you visit to make sure it is still open.

Feeding America also has maps of summer meal locations and farmer’s markets that take Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, credits. You can learn more about the WIC program here.

Use the 2-1-1 Wisconsin website to find the food pantry in your neighborhood.

Call Impact at 2-1-1, which can connect you to food pantries and meal programs in your area. You can also text your ZIP code to TXT-211.

You can also text “MKEfood” to 73224 to connect with a News414 reporter about food resources.

Do I need a photo ID to go to a food pantry?

For some, yes. This is because some pantries are restricted in the areas they can serve and are required to verify that you live in the area they serve. However, not all pantries require an ID.

If you are not sure if you need an ID, call the food pantry directly or text “MKE” to 73224 and a reporter can get you the information you need.


Some restaurants and grocery stores allow customers to pay only what they are able to pay for food, even if that is nothing. However, there is also a suggested price for those who want to support these efforts.

Tricklebee Café, located at 4424 W. North Ave., is a community cafe offering vegan and gluten free options. The café is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Call 414-488-2477 to order for pickup or dine in.

greater good(s) MKE, located at 5205 W. North Ave., is a pay-what-you-can produce store open every Wednesday from noon to 7 p.m. and every Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon. Order online for pickup here.

Victory Garden Initiative, or VGI, is a food justice nonprofit and urban farm based in Harambee. In addition to other programming, VGI hosts a pay-what-you-can farm stand every Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 249 E. Concordia Ave. until Oct. 29. Food at the farm stand is grown at VGI’s farm across the street. In addition to pay-what-you-can food, there are also garden tools and seeds available for checkout to start your own garden.

Officials from Emerald City Catering, located at 3555 S. 13th St., said that people can call to see if they can reserve leftover meals or meals made with extra produce the company did not use. Meal prices will be pay-what-you-can. Call 414-672-3434 from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to inquire about the options.

MKE Good Food Bus is a mobile food truck that offers produce on a pay-what-you-can scale. Cash, PayPal, Venmo and Cash App accepted. Text 414-367-9459 for the exact location of the truck. But the truck will generally be in these neighborhoods on the following days:

Get free or low-cost food delivered to you

Milwaukee County families with children 18 and younger can get seven-day meal packs delivered to them weekly at no charge through the Gorilla to Go program. The program is a joint effort between the Hunger Task Force and Gourmet Gorilla, a kids meal supplier based in Chicago. To be eligible, parents only need to live in Milwaukee County and have at least one child who is 18 or younger. Currently, the program is adding new applicants to a waitlist due to overwhelming demand, which you can sign up for here.

For those who are 60 or older, Meals on Wheels will deliver meals to you and anyone living with you who also qualifies. You can view eligibility requirements and apply here and view this month’s menu here.

Additionally, for those 60 or older and/or have a qualifying disability in the 53204, 53215 and 53224 ZIP codes, Friedens Community Ministries will deliver food from one of its four pantries. Call 414-289-6030 to sign up.

Get money for food

Those making less than the maximum income requirements can get EBT credit to buy food through Wisconsin’s FoodShare program. You can check to see if you are eligible here, and instructions on how to apply here.

Parents of children who receive free or reduced-price school meals may also be eligible to receive credit to buy food through Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT. Three P-EBT programs focused on school age children, children under 6, and summer meals respectively. You can view eligibility for each program here.

If you are eligible but have not received any funds or a letter saying you are eligible, either fill out an application here or call 833-431-2224 and email 

We’ve updated our list on where struggling residents can get free food or low-cost meals was originally published by the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service. 

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