Free Christmas Dinners for Low-Income Families

This information is current as of June 26, 2022.

Christmas should be a time to get together with your loved ones and enjoy the season. However, if you have a difficult time with your monthly bills, you may be worried about how to manage the holidays. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get free Christmas dinners for low-income families.

Free Christmas dinners are given by local food banks, the Salvation Army, local churches and parishes, Meals on Wheels, and the Lions Club. You can also call 211 for more information on local resources. Finally, if you are low-income, you may also be eligible for SNAP, which could supply you with free groceries to make a wonderful holiday meal.

Let’s enjoy the season together.

Local Food Banks

Food banks are local organizations that gather unsold products from grocery stores, overstocked manufacturer inventories, and food drives. They then store the food and redistribute it to food pantries and meal centers.

One way to find food banks near you is through Feeding America, the largest food bank network in the country. Visit their website and see a list of food banks in your zip code or state.

You can also visit Food Pantries’ website to see available food pantries state by state. This website also offers a user-generated database for government and non-profit grocery resources.

Ample Harvest is another organization that supports 8,500 local food banks in all 50 states. It connects home and community gardens with local food banks where they can donate any excess harvest. To find a pantry near you, see here.

Another helpful tool is Food Finder, where you can see all the food pantries near you by searching your zip code. Click here to access the map. You can also access a free hotline online at or via phone by calling 1-800-548-6479. You can receive help finding food pantries, government nutrition programs, and soup kitchens through Why Hunger.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army’s mission is to help people in need, especially during Christmastime. Salvation Army is found all over America and the world and organizes different Christmas dinners depending on the area.

Most offer an annual Christmas dinner on December 25, where people can gather, share a meal, listen to music, play games, and receive gifts – all free. There is also a drive-thru meal pickup option. Meals include classic Christmas favorites such as turkey, ham, yams, mashed potatoes, green beans, dessert, and a beverage. Find your local Salvation Army today.

Local Churches or Parishes

All churches and parishes try to help everyone during Christmas, regardless of their religion or beliefs. You do not have to belong to that church or religion to participate.

Local churches and parishes usually host free meals after Christmas day services. Still, they don’t always have a website or database to help find them. Instead, you can start searching in your local newspaper, church bulletins, libraries, word-of-mouth, or through schools.

Local churches and parishes may also have food banks and pantries. To find these, you can search by zip code or state at and Ample Harvest. In addition, the Catholic Church’s organization, St. Vincent De Paul Society, offers a list of food banks by region and state.

You can visit this website to find an Episcopal Church near you. There are also 146 Jewish Federations across the US and Canada. You can also find your local United Methodist Church or get help through the Lutheran Social Service.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is an organization that deliveries meals throughout the year, usually focusing on the elderly or homebound adults. Unfortunately, the organization is closed on regular holidays. However, you can still sign up to receive a cold meal delivered before Christmas Day to heat up and enjoy with your family on Christmas.

The Meals on Wheels website does offer a solution for a hot meal delivery on Christmas Day through Volunteers Enlisted to Serve People. This program delivers hot meals donated by local congregations and restaurants to homebound or disabled low-income adults. You must register for the program before November 20.     

The Lions Club

Lions Clubs worldwide are dedicated to serving those in need and fighting hunger, especially on Christmas. Each year, they deliver hot meals to local homebound seniors and spend some time with them for a holiday.

Meals usually include turkey, ham, candied yams, stuffing, rolls, green beans, cake, fresh fruit, and even Christmas candy. To find your local Lions Club, see here.

Call 211

You can call 211 for help with most crises and emergencies. In addition, the organization can assist with information on housing, utility expenses, and mental health and help feed you and your family through food programs and benefits.

If you need help figuring out how to get a Christmas meal on the table, pick up the phone and dial 211. Someone will be on the other end, happy to help. You can also visit your area 211 websites to find local food programs and resources like hot meal programs, food pantries, and meal delivery.

SNAP Meals

With SNAP benefits, you can purchase everything you need to prepare a delicious and healthy Christmas meal for your family using your EBT card. 

You can create a cranberry ham as the main dish using brown sugar, cornstarch, allspice, cranberry juice cocktail, lemon juice, raisins, and ham slices. All of the ingredients can be purchased using your EBT card. Plus, the recipe only takes 45 minutes!

For a hearty Christmas salad, you can make a Waldorf salad using walnuts, apples, celery, raisins, plain yogurt, sugar, and lemon juice.

All you need green beans, brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and an onion for a yummy side dish of Dutch green beans.

To complete your meal, you can prepare brown rice pilaf, soul-healthy cornbread, and maple sweet potatoes. You can make a delicious deep-dish apple cranberry pie for dessert using apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, pie spice, and pie crust.

All these ingredients can be purchased using your SNAP benefits, and all the recipes can be found online.

Final Thoughts

Many people across the United States struggle to afford daily living, especially during holidays. It can be challenging for transportation, healthcare, rent, bills, and more.

Although Christmas is a time of great joy and connection, it can also be a costly time of the year. So let’s stop Christmas from stressing you out and enjoy this time with your family. Take advantage of the abundance of resources available in your local area to help you and your family enjoy a free, delicious Christmas meal together.

Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service

If you qualify for SNAP, you may also be eligible for Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Lifeline and ACP are government-run programs to help low-income consumers receive free or heavily discounted communication services.

Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.

Get a Tablet for $10.01

If you qualify, you can get an 8″ tablet for just $10.01. Apply here to get started!

Save Even More With Recommended Resources and Amazon Deals

Looking to save on additional items? You may want to check out our Recommended Resources page. For example, you can learn how to save 50% on Amazon Prime membership and use your EBT card.