Food Assistance

Food Pantry & Meal Program Information

Cambridge in Motion, coordinated by the Cambridge Public Health Department, is maintaining the most up to date information about food pantry and meal program operations in Cambridge. Click here to view.


Cambridge Community Food Line

The City and Food for Free have set up the Cambridge Community Food Line (617-349-9155)  to delivery weekly shelf-stable groceries to Cambridge residents who are at high risk of food insecurity. You qualify for this grocery delivery service if:

  • The food pantry or meal program you used has closed until further notice
  • You have lost your job or part of your income and cannot afford groceries at this time
  • You are homebound due to illness, disability, or quarantine and do not have support that can bring you food
  • You are at high risk for COVID-19 and do not have access to a regular food source

Note: The Cambridge Community Food Line will provide groceries to anyone who meets the criteria above, regardless of immigration status.

To participate, call 617-349-9155. You will be prompted to leave a voicemail with your name, number, and address. A member of our staff will call you back within 24 hours to confirm that you meet the criteria for food item delivery. If you meet the criteria, you will be added to the weekly distribution list.


Senior Food Resources

All seniors who were accessing the Council on Aging’s food pantry and meal services prior to the COVID-19 outbreak were contacted to enroll in the Cambridge Community Food Line. If you are a senior who is unable to access food, please call the Food Line at 617-349-9155.

If you are concerned about a senior’s access to food, please call the Council on Aging’s main line at 617-349-6220.

For seniors who are able to travel to grocery stores, special shopping hours are detailed below.


Special Grocery Store Hours

The Mayor, the City Council and the City Manager want to ensure our senior citizens have as much information as possible as we navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

It is incredibly important that residents over the age of 60, especially those with underlying health conditions, practice thorough personal hygiene and safe social distancing.

We also understand you will need to leave the house to obtain groceries and other items.

As of March 23, grocery stores in Massachusetts are now required to provide alternative hours for people over 60 in order to limit their potential exposure to COVID 19. This information must be posted and enforced. Many groceries stores also offer online ordering and/or curbside pickup for customers. Please visit their websites to learn more about what they offer.

Here is the most recent information we have on what local grocery store chains are doing to create specific shopping windows for people over 60:

  • Broadway Marketplace, 468 Broadway, is offering senior shopping hours 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Monday-Saturday. They are also offering curbside pickup of grocery items.
    • For curbside pickup: Seniors need to e-mail their order to Please include contact information. They will call for a payment method and schedule pick up. When at the curb, call 617-547-2335 and they’ll load your order into your vehicle.
  • Brothers Market, 1 Broadway, is dedicating 7:00-8:00 a.m. every day as a shopping hour for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
  • Market Basket, 400 Somerville Ave., Somerville will open exclusively for people over 60 every day from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.
  • Pemberton Farms, 2225 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge will offer daily hours from 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m. for customers ages 60 and over. They can also pull and deliver grocery for nearby customers. If interested, please email Denna at Delivery fee is determined based on location. 
  • Stop & Shop, which has locations on McGrath Highway and Alewife Brook Parkway, will open exclusively for people over 60 and anyone with a weakened immune system each day from 6:00 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
  • Star Market, which has locations in Porter Square, on Beacon Street, on Mt. Auburn St., and on McGrath Highway, will open on Tuesdays & Thursdays from 7:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.mfor senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.
  • Trader Joe's, which has locations at 211 Alewife Brook Parkway and 748 Memorial Drive, will open every day from 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. to anyone 60 or over and customers who with disabilities or who are immunocompromised.
  • Whole Foods, which has three locations in Cambridge, will open for people over 60 one hour before it opens to the general public. The River Street location near Cambridge Port will open for seniors at 8:00 a.m. The Prospect Street location near Central Square will open for seniors at 7:00 a.m. The Fresh Pond location will open for seniors at 8:00 a.m.

 We encourage you to do any necessary grocery shopping during these windows and/or reach out to stores directly to find out about their online ordering and curbside pickup options.

As a reminder, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, City of Cambridge Senior Centers and Council on Aging are closed until further notice. General questions can be directed to the Council on Aging’s main line: 617-349-6220.


Cambridge Public Schools Emergency Food Program

Every weekday, Cambridge Public Schools will be packing and distributing bagged breakfasts and lunches to locations throughout the city. Cambridge families who are facing food challenges are all welcome to pick up one bag per child/youth, regardless of Free/Reduced Price Lunch status. More information is available here.

Please complete the Meal Request Form every day to help us accurately plan and distribute meals.

Distribution Sites

Meals are distributed through the following locations:

  • Haggerty School: Cushing Street main entrance
  • Peabody School: Rindge Avenue main entrance
  • King Open School: Cambridge Street main entrance
  • Morse School: Granite Street main entrance
  • Dr. Martin Luther King School, Jr.: Magee Street Entrance
  • Fletcher Maynard Academy: Harvard Avenue
  • 35 Cambridge Park Drive: Look for a parked yellow school bus nearby

More information is available here.


Homeless Outreach & Support

With many shelter programs short staffed and no longer having the capacity to prepare meals on site, the city is in the preliminary stages of contracting with local restaurants in Central and Harvard Square to provide bag or boxed meals for lunch and for dinner to be delivered to the specified shelters and programs that have indicated a strong need for the meals. If restaurants are interested in participating in this program in the future, they should contact the Purchasing Department at For more, see this announcement.

Page was posted on 3/18/2020 6:52 PM
Page was last modified on 5/14/2020 8:55 AM
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