Q: Who qualifies for food assistance?
A: Our food pantries typically serve individuals and families earning less than 150% of the federal poverty line. Click here to find out if you qualify.
Q: Can I go to more than one food pantry?
A: No. Although there may be more than one option in your neighborhood, we ask that you choose one food pantry to attend for as long as you need it. This allows our food pantries to serve as many people as possible.
Q: What is the difference between a food pantry and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank?
A: The Food Bank has a large warehouse facility where we receive and store products that are then made available for our member agencies to take back to their locations and distribute. Food pantries get products from the Food Bank and either pick up the items from us or have them delivered. The food pantries distribute the products to families needing food.
Q: What is the difference between a food pantry and an emergency pantry?
A: Food pantries provide regular service to individuals and families within their service area (on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis). Families must visit the pantry on the specific date the pantry is open. Emergency food pantries may be open all day, and can offer enough food to help a family get by until their next pantry day.
Q: What documents to I need to bring to get food from a pantry?
A: We recommend that you bring proof of residency, proof of income and a valid photo ID, but all families should be served on their first visit even without documentation. You should always call the pantry before your visit to find out what specific documents you need to bring.
Q: I already go to a food pantry, can I also go to Produce to People?
A: Yes! We recommend that all pantry users take advantage of our Produce to People program. You are permitted to attend as many Produce to People distributions per month as you would like in addition to visiting one local food pantry.
Q: I can’t make it to my pantry distribution. What can I do to get food if I can’t physically get there? Do pantries deliver?
A: The majority of food pantries are not able to provide delivery services, but will allow another person to pick up your food for you. Talk to the coordinator at your pantry and they will give you a proxy form to fill out. If you are disabled, or over the age of 60, there are meal delivery programs called Meals on Wheels that will bring hot and cold meals directly to your home.
Q: How much food will I get from the pantry?
A: The amount of food given out at a pantry depends on that agency’s resources and choices. Food pantries are designed to be supplemental, and most of our pantries strive to provide families with at least 3-5 days of food.
Q: I have a relative living with me. Can we both get food from the pantry?
A: Food pantries provide food assistance based on household size. If you live in the same house or apartment, you are counted in the same household and would receive one food order for your household – not two orders.
Q: I have a friend who goes to a different food pantry and gets more food and better quality food. Why can’t I go there too?
A: All of our member agencies have a specific service area to ensure they have the capacity to serve the families in their neighborhood or surrounding neighborhood. Pantry users get food from one pantry that serves the community they live in.
Q: I have a complaint… who do I talk to?
A: We recommend first contacting the coordinator at your pantry. If you require further assistance, you may contact a member of our Network Development team here at the Food Bank by calling 412-460-3663.
Q: I have special dietary restrictions. Can you help?
A: Most of our pantries do their best to help clients that have special dietary needs/restrictions, but unfortunately not all have the capacity to make those types of accommodations. Additionally, much of the food distributed through our food pantries is donated, so particular food items needed for a particular diet may not be available. We do have four food pantries that specifically provide gluten free food. Click here to see the list.
Q: What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and how do I apply?
A: SNAP is a federal program in recipients are allotted a specific dollar amount loaded onto a debit card. SNAP’s income guidelines are different than our food pantry income guidelines. If you would like to apply for benefits, click here to connect with one of our SNAP Outreach Coordinators!