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6 Best Grants to Start a Food Pantry in 2024

One thing you have to understand is that funding for food pantries tends to come from a wide range of sources, such as government and nonprofit organizations. Most often, anyone looking to start or run a food pantry is advised to examine nonprofit grants available for such programs.

Truth be told, no two food box programs are the same. Have it in mind that well-to-do pantries represent a community’s distinctive response to the issue of hunger as it exists within its boundaries. So regardless of the sort of pantry you want to start, below are the top grants to look into.

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Available Grants to Start a Food Pantry

  1. Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program (CFPCGP)

The primary intention of this program is to rally together stakeholders from numerous parts of the food system and to guarantee an understanding of national food security trends and how they may impact local food systems.

With the realization that low-income individuals always have to deal with disproportionate access to healthy food, projects are meant to deal with food and nutrition insecurity, especially when it has to do with the country’s most vulnerable populations. Communities that are partially or fully located in Opportunity Zones are advised to apply.

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To be eligible, you will have to conform with all CFP Purpose and Priorities eligibility requirements and be an eligible entity type. All your projects will need to align with the CFPCGP Purpose and Priorities as per the current RFA.

How to Apply 

To apply, visit

  1. Community Development Block Grants

This is more or less referred to as the largest source of funding from the government especially for organizations that specialize in meeting the everyday needs of the society, such as hunger.

The Federal Government via its Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) tend to make available grant for local governments, and this will afterwards be allocated to deserving organizations or individuals. Normally, the local government will allocate the funds once a year, after a selection of submitted applications.

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Qualified grantees include;

  • Principal cities of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)
  • Other metropolitan cities with populations of at least 50,000
  • Qualified urban counties with populations of at least 200,000 (excluding the population of entitled cities)
How to Apply

Have it in mind that the application process for this grant may differ in every state, as such if your organization is looking to establish a food bank or food pantry, then it is recommended you reach out to the local county or city government and then ask them how to apply for CDBG grant.

  1. United Way

The national and local United Way organizations have for years focused on propelling the efforts of human service programs like a food pantry. The United Way makes available a wide range of nonprofit grants for establishing a food pantry.

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The United Way in numerous places or cities has provided and is still providing start-up grant funding to ensure that businesses such as food pantries can start and also stay in business.


Although this grant funding is by invitation only; however, the Community Impact Council tends to consider certain variables when choosing whether to open the Community Grant application process to new organizations in the upcoming grant cycle. To be eligible for United Way’s highly competitive community Grants, you will be expected to:

  • See to precise health and human service needs
  • Conform with United Way’s mission and impact areas of health, education, and financial stability
  • Demonstrate a need for United Way funds
  • Be truthfully responsible and efficient in administration and operation while avoiding duplication of services.
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How to Apply

Visit the United Way website to complete and submit the Eligibility Application for the United Way 2023 – 2025 Community Grant cycle.

Other Sources to Consider

  1. Food Pantry Support Agencies

If you carry out extensive research, you will find nonprofit organizations such as The Food Pantry that are focused on guaranteeing that economically disadvantaged people can have access to healthy meals. Note that one way the organizations achieve this is by making available grants to help in arranging new food banks along with providing funding to help encourage ongoing operations.

  1. Religious Organizations

You will also find that a good number of churches and other religious organizations allocate a good part of their budgets to support community-based human service programs, such as food pantries.

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While these organizations are known to provide smaller grants, they also strive to establish a long-term commitment to a food bank program. For instance, a church can make available a grant to provide food boxes to the needy one day a month.

  1. Civic Organizations

Owing to the delicate services food pantries offer, keep in mind that organizations such as Kiwanis, Optimists, and similar civic groups offer a wide range of start-up grants to projects like food pantries.

For instance, these organizations can decide to adopt a food pantry for a particular year or make arrangements to handle the establishment of such an agency. Within this same process, they provide grant funding and volunteer assistance to a specific food pantry program.