Pratt is committed to addressing food insecurity through direct impact and the sharing of community resources. See below for places to find free or discounted food, community organizations, and tips to save money and limit food waste. Contact thepantry@pratt.edu for additional assistance and please complete our Food Insecurity under COVID-19 survey here.

Options in and near new york city

  • The NYC Department of Education is now offering three free boxed to-go meals every day for New Yorkers of ANY age. 

    1. You do not have to be a DOE student to access this food. No registration or ID required.

    2. Not in NYC? Your local Department of Education or community organization may offer the same program. Check their website or social media.

  • NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guide

national options

  • Local food banks have increased their capacity to accommodate the increased need for services. These amazing organizations are committed to serving people facing food insecurity long-term or those recently affected by the changes due to COVID-19. Depending on where you go, you can find a variety of options including hot food, cold food, non-perishables, and produce. Feeding America is a non-profit with a network of food banks across the country. Find a local food bank here

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program that provides funds to help people purchase food from local sources. Check this link to see if you qualify and to learn about the program

  • Local farms and major food suppliers may be pivoting to providing food for individuals as their business with restaurants has come to a halt. Do a search and see what’s available.

  • Delivery services like Seamless are offering discounts and some restaurants offer free delivery. Open the app or go to a restaurant’s site to see what they’re offering.

save money and shop smarter

  • Shop safely. Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet away from others. Wear a mask and gloves to the store if you can. Shop early in the morning or late at night to avoid crowds. When you get home, wash your hands immediately for 20 seconds, put all of your food away, then wash your hands again. 

  • Make a list. Go in prepared and if you can, do not go hungry. 

  • Look for coupons! Most markets have a flyer in the front of the store with sales and specials. Sign up for their discount program and find coupons on your phone. 

  • Buy filling food that can work as a base for different recipes. Rice (brown or white), Eggs, Pasta, Oats, Bread, and Lentils can be made into radically different dishes depending on how you prepare them and you don’t need a lot to feel full. Quinoa is a bit pricier but a little bit goes a long way.

  • Buy food that will last. Many of the items above will last a long time in your pantry. Look for canned/shelf-stable non-perishable items or frozen food over fresh items. 

    • If you eat meat, chicken breasts tend to be more affordable than some other options. Chicken breast is easy to cook, can be seasoned many ways, and can be frozen to be eaten later.

    • Some fresh fruit and vegetables can last a long time if you store them correctly. Check this handy guide to make your food last.

  • Buy items that can go together. Instead of buying items for individual recipes, think about what items you can use more than once.

  • If you want to avoid crowds, look into curbside pick-up or delivery options from your local grocery store. Curb Run is an app that scans your local grocery stores and lets you know when a slot becomes available.

Eliminate food waste 

Only buy what you need and be thoughtful about your purchases so the food is used before it goes bad. Speaking of, understand the difference between a “sell by” and “best by” date so you don’t throw away good food. According to the United States Department of Agriculture: 

  •  "Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will be of best flavor or quality.  It is not a purchase or safety date.

  • A "Sell-By" date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management.  It is not a safety date. 

  • A “Use-By" date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. It is not a safety date except for when used on infant formula as described below.

  • A “Freeze-By” date indicates when a product should be frozen to maintain peak quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.