Donating a Large-Scale Meal to a Homeless Shelter

Or other facility serving 100 to several hundred — tips for what works & what doesn’t

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.
5 min readMay 10, 2024
volunteers in a Washington, DC soup kitchen
Keith Ellison from Minneapolis, USA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve lived in a homeless shelter for the past three months. Our nightly check-in includes dinner and breakfast. We have a complete kitchen and staff who prepare those meals. The food is not bad at all.

However, we do love it when church groups and volunteer groups bring us dinner. Doing so keeps menus interesting and makes us feel like we’re getting a taste of what the outside world eats.

Do you have a group looking to feed the impoverished, homeless, and/or hungry, possibly a hundred people or more? As the recipient of one of those dinner trays, and after talking with my fellow shelter guests, here are my recommendations to provide a meal everyone will love.

Considerations for what to bring

Would a 12-year-old boy eat it, and like it?

When I was 12, my Sunday school classmates and I took a series of Thursday evening classes leading up to our confirmation in the church. After the final class, we met our parents in the dining hall for a celebration dinner.



Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, homelessness, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn