The Office of Homeless Services (OHS) celebrates the work of local food providers, who make an impact in the community every day.

Our partner network goes above and beyond all year long to ensure that Philadelphians have access to nutritious foods. This vital work is more critical than ever, considering nearly one-in-four Philadelphians is food-insecure.

OHS is here to support the work of meal providers and their efforts to maximize their impact. Here’s a guide with everything you need to run a safe meal site that supports the Philadelphia communities:

Get an Outdoor Public Serving of Food Safety Permit:

In order to serve meals or packaged food outdoors, all organizations must obtain an Outdoor Public Serving of Food Safety permit.

The permit application is free and easy. One person from your organization must take a food safety course and be present at food distribution events. After you complete the course, you submit your permit application.

Please be sure to have a copy of your permit present whenever you serve!

Reduce waste and litter when serving food:

Meal providers offer a critical service to their fellow Philadelphians – serving food to those in need. To ensure there are few to no negative disruptions to the neighborhoods where providers serve, it is important that organizations have a plan in place to reduce the waste and litter that their meal services create.

Providers can partner with CLIP (Community Life Improvement Program), which lends cleaning supplies and can potentially pick up trash after your meal service concludes. You can request to borrow cleaning supplies through CLIP’s Supply Request Form.

We also encourage each organization to dispose of trash at the nearest sanitation center. Use the Sanitation Center Locator to find one closest to you!

Spread useful information with the Free Meals Flyer and Online Free Food Locator:

The OHS Food Services Unit updates Free Meal Flyers on a quarterly basis for public distribution and use. City-wide and Kensington-specific flyers in English and Spanish are available. All the meal sites included on these flyers are free of charge with no requirements of their meal guests. If you’d like us to add your organization to the flyer, contact the Food Services Unit at

The City also maintains the online food finder. This is a centralized website for Philadelphians to find free food. Users can just type in their zip code and the website will alert them to free food nearby.  Like the Free Meal Flyers, all meal sites listed on this page are free and don’t have any requirements for meal guests.

Rise Against Hunger Newsletter

The Food Services Unit distributes a monthly newsletter that includes City updates and serves as a space where partner organizations can share information about their work. Sign up for the Rise Against Hunger newsletter today!

Regional Foundation Center

The Free Library of Philadelphia often holds grant writing workshops at the Regional Foundation Center (RFC). Visit the library’s website for more information about upcoming events! In addition to holding workshops, RFC also has a variety of online resources including a video library of past classes, sample documents, and a network of regional and national partners.

Call 311 to address non-emergency problems:

If you see trash or litter violations, or other non-emergency issues while you are serving meals, please call 311.

This is a form to sign up to receive the "Rise Against Hunger" or other OHS e-newsletter.