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Where to Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen in California
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Where to Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen in California

We hope this encourages you to spread love and joy by signing up to volunteer at a soup kitchen next time you want to do a good deed.


5 min read

July 09, 2021

A soup kitchen is one of the few places where homeless people can get a dignified meal without feeling discrimination or judgement. Relying solely on the generosity and kindheartedness of volunteers, soup kitchens are worthwhile investments of both your money and time. Whether you’d like to help by donating, packing, distributing, or raising awareness virtually, volunteering at a soup kitchen is an awesome way to help your community stand against larger issues hand in hand.

There’s likely a soup kitchen to volunteer at regardless of where you live in the Golden State. We’ve highlighted a few across different parts of California—we hope this encourages you to spread love and joy by signing up to volunteer at a soup kitchen next time you want to do a good deed.

Here Are the Soup Kitchens To Volunteer At

The Martin de Porres House of Hospitality is a free restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch during the week and brunch on Sundays.

Martin de Porres House of Hospitality

Location: 225 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco

The Martin de Porres House of Hospitality believes that all people have dignity and the right to be respected, and therefore treats every person that walks in as a guest. If you too would like to advocate for eating as a right and not a privilege, then sign up to be a soup kitchen volunteer here and help change lives. 

Martin’s receives no funding from the government or church. Almost every race, religion, age, sexual identity, economic and social background, political belief, and educational level is found here both among volunteers and guests. Call the soup kitchen to see when they need volunteers and head over to help—lending a hand is just that simple.

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Martha’s Kitchen

Location: 311 Willow Street, San Jose

Martha’s Kitchen provides almost 100,000 meals and distributes 250,000 pounds of groceries each month to people in need. While San Jose is their base, the non-profit tries to provide food security to as many communities as they possibly can all over the state from Santa Clara to Monterey.

Having served the community for more than 40 years, this incredible soup kitchen for the homeless, seniors, and working poor relies on eager volunteers. An email address and volunteer instruction guide is available on their website if you’re interested in contacting Martha’s Kitchen to take the next step.

The Merced County Food Bank helps to improve the health and well-being of Merced and Mariposa County residents affected by hunger.

Merced County Food Bank

Location: 2000 West Olive Avenue, Merced

The Merced County Food Bank is a private non-profit organization that was established to feed the hungry in Merced and Mariposa counties through community collaboration. So far, they’ve done exactly that and more very successfully. Since 2004, the non-profit has distributed more than 45 million pounds of food and continues to provide food to nearly 17,000 people every month.

Don’t let a child go to bed hungry or a senior choose between medicine and food. Become a soup kitchen volunteer by getting acquainted with the informational page on the website.

Organic Soup Kitchen provides oncology nutrition and addresses food insecurity to a diverse demographic of people struggling with chronic illnesses.

Organic Soup Kitchen

Location: 608 Anacapa Street Suite C, Santa Barbara

Organic Soup Kitchen has a slightly different but very valuable approach to running a soup kitchen: addressing food insecurity to a diverse demographic of people struggling with the effects of cancer and chronic illnesses. Certified chefs and volunteers help make organic, plant-based, and nutrient-dense soups and deliver them to clients’ homes. If you’d like to help but don’t have the time to be a soup kitchen volunteer here, consider buying the delicious meals online and automatically donate one to someone in need.

Volunteers of the West Valley Food Pantry purchase or take delivery of food shipments, buy and pick up food, and distribute.

West Valley Food Pantry

Location: 5700 Rudnick Avenue, Woodland Hills

The West Valley Food Pantry was established in 1975 as a small closet located in the kitchen of Prince of Peace Episcopal Church. Today, the food bank is run by over 200 volunteers striving to end food insecurity in California. The volunteers here do an impressive job to help the local community. Not only do they purchase, deliver, stock shelves, validate client eligibility, and maintain distribution records, but they also shop for specials, buy and pick up food, and assist in the daily meal distributions in two-and-a-half-hour shifts from Monday through Thursday. Help this soup kitchen for the homeless and other communities either by taking on responsibilities or donating money and food.

World Harvest Food Bank

Location: 3100 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles

At World Harvest, you can be sure that nothing goes to waste at all. In fact, all produce collected by the food bank that can’t be distributed due to spoilage or damage is sent to be composted. How cool is that? There are a variety of ways to help World Harvest in their mission to provide good quality food of nutritional value to low-income families and individuals. Volunteer at the soup kitchen or consider donating either food or money—every act of kindness helps. 

Merle Hatleberg, who was working as a site director for an Orange County seniors program, founded the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen in 1986.

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen

Location: 720 West 19th Street, Costa Mesa

At Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, the mission is to ensure a hearty meal for everyone who needs one, serving a diverse group including the homeless, job seekers, seniors, children, and those facing physical or mental challenges. With a commitment to ensuring no one ends their day hungry, they extend their services all week long. By volunteering at such a soup kitchen, you contribute significantly to the fight against hunger, supporting an invaluable cause.

Not able to volunteer in person? No worries! A simple online donation can make a big difference, with as little as $40 helping to prepare 30 wholesome meals. Prefer to contribute goods? Check out their online wishlist to see what items you can provide to help stock their pantry.

Mama’s Kitchen is a community where mutual respect and dignity are preserved by promoting humanity and compassion towards everyone.

Mama’s Kitchen

Location: 3960 Home Avenue, San Diego

Mama’s Kitchen was established in 1990 by a local San Diego caregiver who was deeply concerned about her neighbors affected by the AIDS epidemic. Today, the same spirit of altruism lives on as Mama’s Kitchen fulfills its mission to provide support to San Diegans at risk of malnutrition due to critical illness. They serve people diagnosed with HIV, cancer, congestive heart failure, type two diabetes, and chronic kidney disease. 

Together with hundreds of selfless soup kitchen volunteers, businesses, and supporters, this non-profit strives to help the local community to stay healthy, preserve their dignity, and keep their families together by providing medically tailored home-delivered meals, pantry services, and nutrition education. Find information on available opportunities on their website and get volunteering. 

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