Meals Program at The Bowery Mission
When you are homeless in New York City, your most immediate worry is where your next meal will come from. There are nearly 40,000 homeless men, women and children in New York City. Most stay in city shelters. Others stay on the street. One of their key concerns is finding enough food or a hot, nutritious meal to make it through the day.
Since 1879, The Bowery Mission has opened its doors to anyone who is hungry and in need of a nutritious meal. Once known as a soup kitchen, The Bowery Mission is sometimes referred to as the busiest “restaurant” in New York City, serving over 369,200 meals last year alone.
Most meals are served at our flagship location, 227 Bowery in Manhattan (directions). Meals are served 365 days/year and are preceded by a chapel service on the following schedule:
Meals Are Made Possible by Caring Donors
The Bowery Mission’s combined programs serve more than 900 meals per day to poor and homeless men, women, and children and more recently, the unemployed who are doing everything possible to make ends meet.
We depend on the generosity of caring donors to help meet the needs of people, many of whom have nowhere else to turn. Thanks to donations of food and volunteer time, it costs us only $1.59 to serve a meal at The Bowery Mission. You can help meet the needs of a homeless person by making an online gift or by making a gift by mail or phone to The Bowery Mission.
Your gift does so much more than provide a nutritious meal. It tells the person receiving the meal that you and thousands of other people care and want to help them to overcome their hunger and help them with other needs in their lives.
Meals – The First Step Toward Recovery
Many who come to The Bowery Mission for the meals program end up finding help for the underlying challenges which led them to homelessness. Challenges like unemployment, addiction, past trauma or abuse. Many graduates of The Bowery Mission’s residential recovery programs for men and programs for women first learned about these programs when they came for a meal at the mission.
Homeless adults who qualify for our residential recovery programs for men and for women live at one of three programs: The Bowery Mission Life Transformation Program and The Bowery Mission Men's Center in Avenue D and The Bowery Mission Women’s Center at Heartsease Home. Residents live on site and share three meals a day with the community in a faith-based context. Each site offers long-term, practical solutions to chronic homelessness through life and employment skills training, continuing education opportunities, addiction recovery single and group counseling, legal aid, job-readiness training and housing placement.
Community Outreach Takes Meals to Those in Need
While there are many homeless and others in need who come to The Bowery Mission for our meals program, there are many who are unaware that there is help available or are wary of coming to Mission. To serve these individuals, The Bowery Mission’s Outreach Van travels to parks and street corners in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
To those who are unaware, our outreach program meets a desperate need for nutritious food and helps them learn about the other services available. To those who are wary, we offer the dignity, acceptance and care that often leads them them to take the next step to learn about our emergency shelter, clothing, showers, medical clinic, or residential recovery programs.
In addition to hot meals, our outreach program volunteers and staff are able to provide critical bags of groceries to poor families choosing between food and rent. This food often makes the difference in making ends meet.
The Outreach Program currently serves four neighborhoods:
- Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan
- Knickerbocker Park, Brooklyn
- Chelsea, Manhattan in partnership with New York City Relief
- Coney Island, Brooklyn in partnership with the Salt & Sea Mission
Volunteers – A Key Part of The Bowery Mission Team
Whether it is serving a hot, nutritious meal to a homeless person at The Bowery Mission or handing out groceries with the outreach program, volunteers are a vital part of the work. There are opportunities for groups to serve by preparing meals, serving food, and making our guests feel welcome at the Mission or at our outreach program locations. Individual volunteers are also needed each year to serve meals during Thanksgiving Week. Learn more about volunteering as a group with our meal programs.