Last Updated: June 2, 2021
What a difficult year this has been, 2020 has brought on a lot of challenges. Many are struggling one way or another, with loss of jobs and the ability to feed themselves. Or maybe your struggling with transportation or getting nutritious foods on the table. If you’re local, I’m sharing ways to get free food in Tacoma.
Hunger and food insecurities are happening here in Washington and right now it’s even a bigger problem. Too many people don’t know where their next meal will come from.
Back in 2019(before the pandemic);
- 1 in 9 Washingtonians struggled to put food on their tables.
- 1 in 6 Washington children don’t know when they will next eat.
- If you are African-American or Hispanic, you are more than twice as likely to struggle with hunger than white households.
- Rural communities struggle with hunger at disproportionately higher rates than metropolitan areas.
I’m so proud of my community and the willingness to help others during this pandemic. I’m proud to live in Tacoma and to watch others helping others.
Over 10 Ways to get free nutritional food near Tacoma
This has been such a difficult time and if you need a hand please check out the resources below. And please if you are local to me and no means for transportation, I’d be happy to pick up and drop off to you. I’ll continue to update this list when school plans are announced.
- Free Food Tables – There are a few groups that do food-sharing tables and gardens in the area. The Tacoma Giving Tables and Food is Free Project Visit their link for a map of locations near you.
- Food Banks & Meal Programs There are some food banks, mobile food banks, meal programs throughout Tacoma. Check out Northwest Harvest map and here’s another map where you can find food pantries and meal sites.
- Little Free Pantry The mini pantry movement is a grassroots, crowd sourced solution to immediate and local need. Whether a need for food or a need to give, mini pantries help neighbors feed neighbors, nourishing neighborhoods.
- Student/School Summer Meal Programs For children and teens, 0-18 years old. The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended several waivers that allow school districts to serve nutritious meals to all students in our community. Check out the interactive map for a location near you.
WILL UPDATE WITH SCHOOL INFORMATION WHEN IT BECOMES AVAILABLE!
Tacoma School District – Any student 18 or younger can get free breakfast and lunch packs five days a week this fall, starting Sept. 9, thanks to a change announced Aug. 31 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Students(or parents, guardians) can pick up meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday-Friday at Baker, First Creek, Giaudrone, Gray, Jason Lee, Mason, Meeker, Stewart, Truman and Wainwright, as well as scheduled stops on 33 routes through district neighborhoods (see map).
University Place School District – Free Breakfast and Lunch for All UPSD Students (Ages 0-18) Starting September 8th. Parent or guardian may pick up for students, student doesn’t need to be present.
Sack meal packs are available for pickup Monday – Friday, 10:30 am — 12:30 pm at: University Place Primary School, Evergreen Primary School, Chambers Primary School and Narrows View Intermediate School. Daytime bus delivery available: click here for a list of sites with times of delivery, or click here for an interactive map.
Afternoon pickup available at Curtis Jr High School only, M-F 4:00 pm — 6:00 pm (this type of pickup requires an advance request. Please send an email by 2:00 pm each afternoon the day before pickup to: Susan Chittenden, firstname.lastname@example.org, and how many sack meals you are requesting).
Lakewood School District – We have extended the times of meal service at school sites and added some mobile locations which will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Meals include lunch and breakfast. Free meals will be distributed for any child under age 18. The student does not need to be present to receive a meal. Parents or students may pick up meals for children in their household. Free for all students until December. List of locations can be found here.
Bethel School District – Child Nutrition Services will be offering meals at 12 curbside school locations this fall beginning Thursday, September 3rd through December 31. Meal service will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily on student school days. Students will receive lunch, and a breakfast for the following morning. Meals can be picked up for your student at any of the 12 locations nearest you. We’re utilizing curbside pick-up to continue to maintain social distancing. Click here for more information about meals.
Steilacoom School District – SHSD will again be able to provide free grab ‘n go lunch/breakfast from September 3 – December 17. Check here for more information.
Puyallup School District – The Puyallup School District will continue to offer free meals to students Sept. 3 – Dec. 31, 2020. Every Monday, a week’s supply of breakfast and lunch items are available for student pickup at all school locations. Items will include a week’s supply of ‘heat-and-eat’ entrees, sandwiches, and prepacked lunch bags. Check here for more information.
- Summer Playground & Meal Program – June 28 – Sept. 3, 2021, 11 am-1 pm Monday-Friday
Various games, arts & crafts, and STEM activities will begin at 11 am. Lunch is served 12-1 pm. Free lunch is available to all youth under 18 years of age at the locations listed below.
Franklin Park, 1201 S. Puget Sound Ave
Portland Ave Park, 3513 Portland Ave
South Park, 4851 S. Tacoma Way
Titlow Park, 8425 6th Ave
Verlo Playfield, 4321 McKinley Ave
Wapato Park, 6500 S. Sheridan Ave
Wright Park, 501 South I St.
- BASH(Bikers Against Statewide Hunger) – “If you or someone you know is in need of food please send them to us. All I ask is you bring me proof of address- something like a bill that has your name and address on it from the month you are coming in. We are open Wednesday and Thursday 10-2pm. You can come in for food every 2 weeks.” Please visit their page to check before heading out. 103 140th St S, Tacoma 98444
- Tillicum Community Center – food bank is open for food pick up Mon, Wed, Fri, 1 to 2 pm located at 14916 Washington Ave SW, Lakewood
- Eloise’s Cooking Pot Food Bank – Eloise’s has many food programs, check out what’s all available. Is open four days a week for six hours each day. Hygiene products, baby supplies, household items, and pet supplies are also made available. Check out the hours online. They also have a delivery service for elderly and disabled homebound.
- Tacoma Rescue Mission – their downtown location (425 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma) is open to the public twice daily; Breakfast: 7am-8am and Dinner: 5pm-6pm
- Trinity Lutheran – Located at 12115 Park Avenue South, Tacoma. Food Pantry is open Tuesdays from 11 AM to 3 PM, Fridays from 11 AM to 2 PM, and Sundays from 12 to 2 PM.
- Free U-Pick Blueberries – You can pick your own blueberries for free at Charlotte’s Blueberry Park 7402 E D St Tacoma – while supplies/season last.
- Farm to Families Free Food Boxes provided by the USDA – Follow OurChurch253 in University Place for when they are giving out boxes and also Food Is Free Tacoma.
- FACEBOOK – There are a few ways you could possibly get help in our area, which are reaching out to your community on Facebook. Join your local Buy Nothing Group, if you’re struggling ask your neighbors if they have any spare food. Join the organization Helping Hands In Washington FB group and ask for help.
- Tacoma Farmers Market – It may not be free, but many booths accept Food Stamps and EBT. They also match EBT/Food Stamps for 1:1, so if you ask for $10 on your ebt then you receive $10 in market match for fresh produce, ect.
- Both Tacoma Farmers Market and Lakewood Farmers Markets gives children up to 16 years old a free fruit or veggie. Just go to the information booth and ask for their Apple A Day $1 Tacoma Farmers Market and Kids $2 Lakewood Market.
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