How To Get Free Groceries


Bring with you:

4 to 5 clean, reusable cloth or plastic tote bags. Loaves & Fishes does not provide bags. Plastic “T-shirt” bags, paper bags, and boxes are discouraged.
Grocery Categories: USDA and Pantry

USDA Groceries - See if you qualify
USDA food is given only once a month for each qualifying household. Loaves & Fishes does not share any information regarding our clients with anyone other than what we are required to report annually to the USDA.

USDA Nondescrimination Statement

Pantry Groceries
Regardless of whether you qualify for USDA food, you may receive Pantry food. The amount is based on your household size. If you run out of food, you may return within the same month for more Pantry food.

ID is NOT required to receive groceries.

Come to the Pantry

Please visit us during food distribution hours at 2050 Lambs Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901, near Albemarle High School (see map below). Please do NOT arrive before the Pantry opens.
Food Distribution Hours

Wednesdays 2:00-4:00 PM
Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 PM
Saturdays, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The Pantry will be closed on holidays or if weather makes travel dangerous. We post closings on our website, TV, radio, and our Facebook and Twitter pages.


Park as directed

A parking lot assistant will show you where to park so you can get groceries when it's your turn. Please take only one space. Stay in your car until the assistant gives you an entry pass and tells you to go in the building. (We have limited room in our waiting area.) Park in the Handicap spots only as directed.
Parking and Facility Rules
  • Do not arrive more than one hour before pantry opens.
  • Follow instructions given by Loaves & Fishes staff and volunteers.
  • Please keep your car music levels low.
  • Unruly and disruptive behavior is strictly prohibited on the property and in the Pantry. For safety reasons, you MUST control children in your care when visiting the Pantry. Please do not leave kids unattended in play area.
  • No alcoholic beverages are allowed on the property. Anyone who appears to be intoxicated will be refused admittance.
  • No weapons are allowed in the Pantry building.
  • No profanity, verbal harassment, or loud, unruly voices are allowed.
  • Please do not use your cell phone inside the building. If you must take a call, please step outside. If you do step outside, notify the greeter when you come back in, in case your name was called while you were outside.
  • Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry reserves the right to ask anyone who does not follow our rules to leave the Pantry. Individuals who repeatedly violate these rules may be permanently banned from coming to Loaves & Fishes.

When you register, you will be asked to sign that you have read and agree to these rules.


Sign in

When instructed, enter the pantry through the front door. Sign in on the list at the table inside the front door and take a seat in the waiting area. While you wait, check out the Reader's Corner and Nutritionist's Food Prep Tips.
Reader's Corner
Reading ProgramFriends of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library and local teachers have donated books that Loaves & Fishes’ adult clients and children can take a home each time they visit the pantry. Children receive a reward if they return with a “book report” on the book.


When your name is called, go to an available volunteer at a desk. Our volunteers will ask for the names and birth dates of everyone in your household, as well as your address, phone number, and the total household monthly income. If you would like to designate someone to pick up groceries for you, please complete and sign one of the forms below or call 434-996-7868 to add your proxy to our database.

You will be asked to sign certifying the following:

• I am the only person in this household who has applied for this assistance.
• The income of all persons in my household is not more than the amount listed on this form.
• I understand that I can only receive USDA food once a month.
• I understand that making a false statement may result in having to pay the state for the value of the food improperly issued to me and may subject me to criminal prosecution under state and Federal law.
• I have read and agree to the Parking Lot and Facility Rules.

Loaves & Fishes does not share any information regarding our clients with anyone other than what we are required to report annually to the USDA.

Give your ticket to the door keeper

The registration volunteer will give you a ticket after you register. Give your ticket to the volunteer at the blue door. The door keeper keeps tickets in order and will call you when a client guide is available to help you shop for your groceries.

Shop with a client guide

When your name is called by the doorkeeper, go to the blue door. A client guide will help you shop based on your registration ticket. The guide will help you pick foods that your family will eat, and will help you select the best food for any dietary restrictions you may have.
About the Groceries
Loaves & Fishes usually gives out about 40 pounds of food per person in a household (about eleven days’ worth of groceries). USDA groceries (if you qualify) include things like canned fruits and vegetables, dried foods (pasta, oatmeal, raisins), potatoes, and juice. "Pantry" groceries include a selection of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and pastries, frozen meats, and other items donated by local grocery stores. Because most of our food is donated, we cannot guarantee what we will have each time you visit. However, there is a good amount of food and we work to share it equally among our clients.

Take your groceries home

Once you have chosen your groceries, volunteers are available to help you load them into your car. If taking public transportation, you might want to bring a family member or friend to help carry the groceries.

Unable to Get to Loaves & Fishes? Name a "Proxy."

If you need food but cannot get to Loaves & Fishes, you can authorize someone to pick up and bring food to you. Call (434) 996-7868 or send a completed, signed TEFAP application with the name and phone number of the "alternate" who will be picking up for you.

Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry

  2050 Lambs Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901

  434-996-7868       Cville.Loaves.and.Fishes       loavesfishes4288       @Cville_Loaves       CvilleLoaves

© 2011-2019 Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry, Inc. All Rights Reserved.