How To Get Free Food When You Have Limited Funds in Illinois

People facing food insecurity may feel like they have no options, given their limited funds. However, there are many ways to secure the food you need. This blog will cover how to get free food with no money in Illinois.

Who Is at Risk for Food Insecurity

In Illinois, 1 in 12 people face hunger. It’s a disheartening statistic and a reality for so many. Oftentimes, families who struggle with food insecurity fall below the federal poverty line. The US Department of Agriculture reported that in 2021, 32.1 percent of households below the poverty line were food insecure. They also reported that Black and Hispanic households as well as single-parent households face higher food insecurity rates when compared to the national average.

assorted foods

How To Qualify for Free Groceries for Pickup vs. Delivery

One of the first things people ask when offered the opportunity to get free groceries is “How do I qualify?” Surprisingly to some, there are no qualifications for services like My Pantry Express. This program was created to help food-insecure households in Northern Illinois based on a self-identified need. In other words, you don’t have to prove that your family needs nutritious food. All you have to do is find a location near you, shop for groceries online, and pick them up on a predetermined date.


While all households facing insecurity are welcome to use My Pantry Express for free online grocery pickup, not everyone can choose delivery. Only some locations offer delivery, and you must live within a 10-mile radius of that location. Keep in mind, this doesn’t stop you from shopping online and placing an order for pickup. Food orders must be submitted online by 8 am, three business days before the pick-up date at the selected location.

Groceries on table

How to Get Free Food Online

Some people may be surprised to learn that they can shop for free groceries online. But it’s true—you can use My Pantry Express to find fresh produce, meat, milk, and other items. It’s easy to use and conveniently online, so you can place an order using any device connected to the internet.


There are also plenty of food pantries that offer on-site shopping for free groceries. There’s likely one near you—click here to find one.

Food Pantries That Offer Online Orders

Wondering how to get free food with no money? Place an online order with My Pantry Express. We’re helping our neighbors in Northern Illinois find relief from food insecurity. If you need free online groceries, create an account and place an order with one of our locations.

Alternative Options

MPX neighbor with fruit graphics

What Free Foods To Avoid

Unfortunately, not all free food is good for you. Many restaurants, bakeries, and similar establishments discard food they don’t use that day, even if it’s still good. But you should never eat food that’s been thrown away. For one, harmful bacteria live in those dumpsters and will contaminate the food. Secondly, that food may have been discarded for a reason. Other free food to avoid would be anything that was frozen or refrigerated. If they’re not kept cold or frozen, they could start thawing before you want them to. That means it’ll be even closer to spoiling and no longer safe to eat. Lastly, you should be cautious about accepting free food that was sealed but is now open. Safety seals are intended to preserve the quality of some foods and ensure it was not tampered with.   When you need free food but are on limited funds, it’s often safer to just locate a food pantry near you.

Looking for a Food Pantry With Pick up and Delivery Options in Northern IL? Order Now!

Ready to schedule your pickup or delivery? It only takes a few minutes to place your order; all you have to do is find a location near you. Place your order by 8 AM at least three days before your location’s pick-up day. Show up with your order confirmation in hand. You’ll find the confirmation number on your screen after placing your order. You can also find it in your order confirmation email. Once you arrive, pull into the designated area and you’ll be taken care of. It’s that easy and free. Place your order today.