What Are Food Stamps?

Everybody in New York City has a legal right to food even if they can’t pay for it.  The NYC government is legally required to provide access to food for people who can’t afford it.  The city’s solutions is Food Stamps which basically means money for groceries.

How do they work?

You get an electronic benefit card (EBT Card) that you can use to buy food at participating stores. You receive a Personal Identification Number (PIN) so it works just like a credit or debit card. Food Stamps can be used at most grocery stores and supermarkets. Food stamps can also be used at stores which sell healthy and organic foods like Trader Joes and Whole Foods and at participating Farmers Markets.

Who Get’s them?

If you’re living on the street you automatically qualify for food stamps.  Other eligibility rules are constantly changing. To find out if you’re eligible, go to a Food Stamps office and talk to a worker there, check online or give The Space a call at (917) 399-0299. Only U.S. citizens can apply. It is possible that when you apply they will run a warrant check on your name to see if the cops in New York are looking for you. Students have to be working in order to apply, but nobody else does.

How do I apply?

There are Food Stamps offices in every borough of New York. Go to the one closest to where you live -otherwise they will send you away.  If you are homeless you can go to any Food Stamps office and be seen by a worker.  You can find a list of all of the city’s Food Stamps offices here.

If you need help filling out the application, you just have to be sure you get your name, address (if you have one) and signature on it.  Once it has that information on it they are legally required to accept it and help you fill out the rest.

If you do not have any identification, you are still legally entitled to Food Stamps.

If you know your social security number (even if you don’t have a social security card) you can request a Confirmation of Identification form from the Food Stamps workers (form W133AA).  They can verify that you are who you say you are and submit your application without ID.  When you get your benefit card, make sure you get one with a photo on it.  This is a government-issued photo ID with your name, birth date, and signature on it.  For all official purposes, it is as good as a state ID.

For Assistance With Food Stamps:

Urban Justice Center
Samantha Elkrief
123 Williams St., Flr 16
New York, NY 10038
Church Avenue Merchant’s Block Assoc. (CAMBA)
Cheryl Love
718-940-6311 ext. 260
2211 Church Ave. Flr 3
Brooklyn, NY 11226

(Brooklyn only)
Manhattan Legal Services
Irma Hernandez
90 John Street – Suite 301
New York, NY 10038
NACHAS Health & Family Network
Leeba Schmerler
718-436-7373 ext. 16
1310 48th Street – 4th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11219

(Brooklyn only)
Food Bank for NYC
Concepcion Cordova
212-894-8038 Ext. 8316
39 Broadway
New York, NY 10006
Public Health Solutions
Melissa Mejia
103-24 37th Ave Flr 3
Corona, NY 11368

(Queens only)


Graffiti Church

205 East 7th Street
NY, NY 10009


Soup Kitchen
FLIP (Free Lunch in the Park)
1:00pm at 7th St. and Ave B

BRC Project Rescue

139 Avenue D
New York, NY 10009

Contact: Andrew Apicella

All Week:
Soup Kitchen

Breakfast: 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Lunch: 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Dinner: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Father’s Heart Ministries

543-545 East 11th Street
New York, NY 10009

Contact: Rev Marian Hutchins

Soup Kitchen

Breakfast: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM on Saturday
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Tuesday
Pantry Bag Distribution: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM on Saturday and Tuesday
Please Note: youth only

Trinity’s Services and Food for the Homeless Inc.

602 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10009

Contact: Nancy Montanez

Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen

Pantry Bag Distribution:
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM on Monday and Tuesday
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

University Community Soup Kitchen

137 East 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009
Contact: Joe Montano

Soup Kitchen

Lunch: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM on Saturday