Food Assistance

General Information

The city and Food for Free have set up the Cambridge Community Food Line (617-349-9155), a food item delivery service for Cambridge residents who are at high risk of food insecurity. Learn more.

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.

Senior Outreach & Resources

  • For a current list of Cambridge Food Resources available during COVID-19, please review:
  • Food for Free is using volunteers to deliver food to housing developments. Food staging sites are located at the Citywide Senior Center and the Gately Youth Center, where packages are being prepared and delivered to residents’ doors.
  • The city and Food for Free have set up the Cambridge Community Food Line (617-349-9155), a food item delivery service for Cambridge residents who are at high risk of food insecurity. The service will deliver a weekly bag of produce and shelf stable grocery items to eligible individuals and families until food pantries and meal programs can reopen. 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.

Special Grocery Store Hours

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. Several local grocery stores are also providing special hours to people who are immunocompromised, who have disabilities, or who are otherwise at high risk for COVID-19.

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

  • 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.
  • Starmarket, 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.m. for senior citizens and other at-risk populations, such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.
  • Trader Joes, 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.

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.

Page was posted on 3/18/2020 6:52 PM
Page was last modified on 4/3/2020 10:47 AM
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