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Aug 7, 2007 09:46 AM

Where are the best free hot meals?

I believe there are many new homeless people with recent home foreclosures, etc. Just because (We) are homeless doesn't mean we don't care what we eat. Where are the best and safest places on The San Francisco Peninsula for free hot meals? Please reply, and I will also post one when I find one...

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  1. Not the San Francisco Peninsula, but in the east bay area and maybe not exactly what you had in mind, but just to add to you knowledge base, I like to go to the Sikh Temple in El Sobrante on Sundays. In my mind, going to the service, listening to the singing and music is part of the fun. The temple serves "langar" (free meal) starting around 11:00 a.m. I think they also serve breakfast! For the initial serving, you wait in line and volunteers dish the entrees out in line. Then you take your plate and find a place on the floor or out on the deck. The food is ALWAYS good!
    While you eat, more volunteers stroll by and you can have seconds....or thirds.....or fourths. The meal generally consists of chapatis and 3 or 4 other hot vegetarian entrees. There are also a limited selection of East Indian sweets. The temple doesn't even solicit donations! Of course, it would be nice to contribute SOMETHING to the temple, even if it's a bag of rice.
    Temple protocol: Remove your shoes (there are volunteers who will polish them while you are in the temple!), place a covering over your head (If you are going into the temple itself; not required if you are eating) and wash your hands. (Of course,you will have arrived freshly bathed as well.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: MKatrinaToo

      This sounds like it would be a great suggestion, except, um, if one is homeless will one really be able to arrive 'freshly bathed'...?

      For the OP: I'd check out Glide. Definitely safe, and all welcome. I can't personally vouch for the tastiness of the food, but my recollection from volunteering there (it has been a long, long time) is that it is good. In any event, I like their motto: "When people are hungry, you feed them"

      Good luck, and do report back!

    2. A few more ideas: plenty of opportunities by community groups for free meals around Lake Merritt in Oakland, but those occasions are sporadic.
      Don't laugh at the following suggestions, but you asked: Get a copy of the Bingo Bugle(r) (?) Many parlors have a free hot meal on certain days. I'm not sure if you have to buy the bingo cards ahead of time, tho.
      An outfit called "El Dorado Ranch" used to have free dinner seminars around the bay area in nice restaurants; I don't know if they still do, but hey, they let you eat first and then give you a fairly brief presentation.
      If I think of more (and there are, I just can't recall them right now), I will post them.

      1. Many Hare Krishna temples offer a free meal - usually yummy too!

        1 Reply
        1. re: jbyoga

          I second that. Tried it in LA great vegetarian food.

        2. It would help to know the exact location on the penninusla.

          However, if you are looking for an area to roost, I would personally seek out the area with th best social services rather than the best food. If there are adequate social services, you can get housing which would alliviate some of the challenges

          Until I know what specific area you are located, the best I can offer is some generic recs.

          As mentioned churches offer free food... not limited to homeless.

          As a Catholic, I know there are often church festivals when the food is free at times of the year. I've had free food at pre-Christmas Filimpino and Mexican events. In El Cerrito there was a free Nigerean food festival. I had a free dinner at a Portuguese fiesta. After many masses, especially in the 9 - 11 pm time frame there are free coffee and donuts. However, without knowing your specific area, it is hard to direct you to those programs.

          I have an aquaintance who is some sort of Protesant or another who often takes advantage of free food events, though in her circle you need to me more committed to religion than Catholics. However, the chance to 'network' might result in help to finding housing.

          In SF a friend was very knowledgable about free food. It is not as easy as one might suspect.

          If you have access to a phone I would call every church in your area. I would also call as many social service agencies as possible.

          If you give me a specific area, I'd be happy to do some further research for you.

          Outside of the church/social service situation, farmer markets offer a lot of free samples that could help out for at least one free meal. Ditto markets like Trader Joes.

          1. Food, not bombs is supposed to be decent food -

            Although I'd be inclined to try to find places on the Peninsula, not SF if safety were my biggest concern. I'd also look for free groceries, rather than someone else's cooking - Glide and several other organizations give out groceries once or twice a week.

            I'm curious where you get the idea that SF has "many new homeless". There were only 49 foreclosures in San Franciscso in the last quarter and there's no reason to assume that every one of those property owners became homeless.

            I've lived through two serious recessions where many, many people lost their homes, in my experience only about 10% of them actually became homeless - most moved in with family or friends until they could get back on their feet.

            Interesting study: