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Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

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Homeless shelters generously feed many people a day. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out what to cook for a large crowd. Check out these tips and recipes for feeding people at a soup kitchen.


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November 7, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and can serve approximately 50 people. I have a youth group that is going to be cooking meals at a homeless shelter.

By Julie Barwick from Ottumwa, IA


Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

I cook for about 25-30 people at my local senior center. This month I made a turkey bake. I layered stuffing on the bottom, topped with green beans, sliced turkey, gravy and then garlic/cheese mashed potatoes sprinkled with additional cheddar cheese. Then I baked it at 400 degrees until the cheese was browned.

This was a cooking class which was based on what to do with leftover turkey. I made two very large baking dishes filled to capacity. I had about 25 people eating and we had almost an entire pan left over. (11/23/2009)

By Linda

Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

As a post note, I did put the recipe for the turkey casserole on my blog at I hope you enjoy it! The seniors loved it! (11/23/2009)

By Linda

Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

Here is a recipe for 96
Takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 1.5 hours to cook


Sloppy Joes for 8 Dozen

  • 15lbs beef
  • 6 med onions chopped
  • 1 gallon ketchup
  • 3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 96 hamburger buns, split

In two soup kettles over med heat, cook and stir beef and onions until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the ketchup, Worcestershire, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, and chili powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered, for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend. Spoon 1/3 cup onto each bun. (11/23/2009)

By Suntydt

Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

This is a good dinner by itself, but would make a good breakfast meal as well.

Hash Brown Casserole

  • 2 lbs. country sausage (hot, mild or other; preference)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (10 3/4 oz) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (80z) container of French onion dip
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup each green and red bell pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste (we found it to be salty so be sparing on salt)

  • 1 (30oz) package frozen hash brown shredded potatoes, thawed

In a skillet, cook the sausage until brown. Drain well. In a huge mixing bowl, combine the cheese, chicken soup, sour cream, French onion dip, chopped onion, bell peppers, salt and pepper. Fold in thawed hash brown potatoes. Mix well.

Spread 1/2 of the hash brown mixture over the bottom of a 9x13 inch greased baking dish. Spread 1/2 of the browned sausage over hash browns. Repeat layering second 1/2 of hash brown mixture. Top with remaining sausage. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour or until casserole is golden brown.

Servings: Serves 9 to 12 depending on portion size.
Optional: Serve with scrambled eggs to make more servings.

Helpful Hints

  • Make it easy: prepare casserole ahead of time, cool and freeze. When ready to serve simply that and reheat in oven.
  • Make it zesty: substitute a container of jalapeno cheese dip for one cup cheddar cheese.

  • Make it lighter: substitute 1 cup of non-fat or low-fat plain yogurt in place of sour cream.
  • Make it personal: bake casserole in muffin tins. Let muffins cool, then freeze until ready to use. When ready to serve, simply thaw and reheat in the oven.

Note - mother had it with a fried egg on top and loved it. (11/23/2009)

By Suntydt

Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

Talking that last recipe over with my mom we both agreed on the following. Add cooked chicken, chopped up (cooked in like a slow cooker or whatever is easier for you). This would increase serving portions. Put it with the sausage when you put the casserole together. (11/23/2009)

By Suntydt

Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

This can be assembled on site. Just don't forget the can opener. Take one or 2 very large cans of whole kernel corn, a pack or two of frozen onion and bell pepper seasoning mix, some parsley and some Italian dressing. Put the corn and seasonings in a large bowl, mix and pour the salad dressing over it. (11/23/2009)


By Leslie Textor

Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

A great casserole that I have had consists of: a layer of cooked turkey in the casserole dish, some veggies of your choice, the gravy poured over and this is all topped with biscuit mix that has cranberries added to it. Everything is cooked already except the biscuit topping, so it's just a matter of heating it through and getting the biscuits fluffy and golden.

With ham, mum used to make scalloped potatoes with slices/pieces of ham, all layered with cooked onions and topped with cheese in a casserole dish. Good luck with it and good for you for doing something like this!

Julie (11/23/2009)

By Julie Andrea

Recipes for Feeding People at a Homeless Shelter

A good one is cheeseburger macaroni. 50 people:

  • approx 12 lbs of hamburger
  • 6 lbs of macaroni
  • approx 6 lbs of Velveeta or generic like cheese
  • approx 1 to 2 lbs butter
  • half gallon of milk
    <l>salt and pepper

You make it to taste, there is no wrong way to make it. You can add onions and mushrooms, you can make it stove top or bake it with a crushed cracker topping. Our kids were so picky we just made it straight. Very filling meal. (11/24/2009)


By Amy Higdon

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Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

July 24, 2008

It takes: 8 loves of bread, 3 gallons of tuna, 3 heads of lettuce and 2 quarts of mayonnaise for 100 sandwiches,

AND 4 -6 sets of caring hands.

The Churches in the area took turns making sandwiches for the homeless. My Mom gave me the recipe to pass along several years ago.

Source: Church ladies

By Great Granny Vi from Moorpark, Ca

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By josie (Guest Post)
July 24, 20085 found this helpful
Top Comment

I feed 60-75 homeless women per day, Monday thru Friday. Because it was very hot this week, we had "cool" meals: leftover chicken in BBQ sauce on a bun (with salad); chili dogs and salad; fish, rice and a cold corn salad, turkey breast and roast beef wraps, stuffed with zucchini, cucumber and carrots; and tomorrow we're having sausages and a cold pasta salad. Tuna sandwiches are great, but there's an endless possibility for variation. If anyone out there needs recipes for a crowd, just let me know.

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January 1, 20112 found this helpful
Top Comment

Nutrious Meal for 20-30

disposable turkey roasting pan
spray inside with vegtable oil
4 cups cooked and cubed turkey or chicken or any meat
6 cups uncooked rice
2 cups frozen peas
2 cups frozen carrots, chopped
4 cans cream or celery or cream of chicken soup
2 1/2 soup cans of milk
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 350

Cook rice according to directions in a larg pot. In large bowl, mix soup, milk and add rice. In disposable pan; layer 1/2 of meat, rice mixture, peas, cheese. Repeat with remaining. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or top layer of cheese melts.

This is an easy to transport meal and is also great for large gatherings.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
November 7, 2010

I need ideas for cheap meals that are tasty to feed the homeless. I am feeding 35 people, mostly men at a shelter that our church works with presently. I need ideas for cheap entrees and desserts. Thank you so much.

By Dottie from Orlando, FL


November 7, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

Goulash, stew (using hamburger instead of stew meat), sloppy joes and potato salad. Casserole dishes can be made using considerably less meat than called for. For dessert cake will do the job. If a group like Ladies Aid or Circle is doing this the group could decide on one type of casserole and dessert, and every member could be assigned to bring either the casserole or dessert, and there should probably be some type of bread and margarine. One member could bring those items.

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November 12, 20104 found this helpful
Best Answer

My late mother once worked at a conference centre that was situated in the country. Very simple fare and inexpensive foods. The kitchen typed out and copied some of the recipes they would make so I've got a bunch of them. I'll type one out for you and then give you a list of the others. If you are interested in the names of some of the recipes let me know and I'll type them out for you too.

Meat and Noodle Casserole
Serves 56

8 pounds ground beef
3 large green peppers, diced
4 large ribs celery, diced
3 medium onions, chopped
4 packages medium noodles
8 cans (10 ounces each) tomato soup
4 cans (10 ounces each) cream of chicken soup
4 cans (10 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup

Brown meat, add pepper, celery and onion. Cook noodles, drain and add to meat mixture along with soups. Pout in casseroles and bake 30 minutes in medium oven.

Other recipes include:
Meat Loaf (serves 50)
Ham Casserole (serves 50)
Chili Con Carne (serves 50)
Tuna Casserole (served 55)
Salmon Loaf with Sauce (serves 48)
Home Baked Beans (serves 20)
Angel Food Cake Surprise (serves 48)
Cherry Delight (serves 48)
Chocolate Dessert (serves 20-24)
Jello Supreme (serves 45)
Pineapple Coleslaw (serves 48)
Jellied Salad (serves 48)

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June 3, 20161 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have served as lead cook at the local homeless shelter for men. We usually serve about 40 guys. Here are two doable dessert recipes that were a big hit. You don't have to be a cook to make them and they are great comfort food.

Peach cobbler - make this in a couple of big hotel pans. Ingredients below serve 40.
6 sticks butter, melt 3 sticks in each of 2 pans
Make batter as follows.
6 C flour
2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. baking powder
6 C whole milk
5 C sugar mixed with 2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix batter until smooth and pour directly over the butter, dividing batter between 2 pans.
5 cans sliced peaches (29 oz.) in heavy syrup, do not drain.
Pour peaches directly over the batter, dividing between the 2 pans.
Sprinkle 1 C sugar over top, dividing between the 2 pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 60 minutes. Baking time will vary depending upon the width and depth of your pans.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Crescent roll apple dumplings. Will serve 40. As with the peach cobble, no cooking expertise is required.
5 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths.
5 packages refrigerated crescent roll dough
Wrap each of the 40 apple wedges in each of the 40 crescent triangles, pressing to seal. Place in hotel pans in single layer.
Make sauce as follows:
In saucepan mix
4 C sugar
2 1/2 C butter ( 5 sticks)
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Pour sauce over dumplings.
48 to 60 oz. mountain dew.
Pour mountain dew over top.
Oven 350 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Magic happens while they bake. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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June 3, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Here is a recipe called picante chicken. It has two ingredients: boneless skinless chicken breasts and picante sauce. The breasts are simmered on top of the stove for about 25 minutes in the picante sauce. Use about 1/3 C of picante per breast. This works best if the chicken is room temperature before dropping into the picante. I did this for 40 guys at our local shelter and it was easy and they liked it. I served with Spanish rice, so the extra picante was spooned over the rice on request.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 18, 2017

How can I feed about 200 homeless people breakfast on a budget?


September 18, 20172 found this helpful

Feeding 200 people on a budget.

  • I would do scrambled eggs, sausages,and toast or english muffins.
  • Oatmeal with fruit and nuts.
  • You could serve breakfast casseroles recipes on pininterest.
  • Try muffins cheaper homemade.
  • Pancakes and sausages go a long way as well.
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September 18, 20171 found this helpful

Oatmeal is very cheap. You can thicken (and yummy) it up by adding half a tablespoon of peanut butter (also cheap in large quantities) and add fruit bits. The nut butter makes it more dense and fills you up well.

Egg scramble with frozen spinach, onions and black beans. Also filling and cheap. Serve with a side of bread.

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September 19, 20171 found this helpful

Hopefully this breakfast is going to be prepared and served in a "commercial" size/style kitchen with ovens and large pots/pans.

Step 1
Service 200 people at one sitting is quite a job and takes a lot of planning so I hope there are other people helping with the set up of tables/chairs/serving/and control.

Step 2
As a general rule we have always found that baked food is easier to prepare/serve than pots or pan cooking.

Step 3
Also, breakfast may mean "sausage/eggs/pancakes" to most people but, from experience, I have found that is not always the case with homeless people.

Step 4
Generally, non-breakfast foods go faster than the usual breakfast items so it may be a good idea to think "out-side the box" a little in this type of situation.

Step 5
I would suggest that no matter what type of food you serve to have plenty of gravy available. Just any good gravy will suffice. Here is one recipe we use and rarely have any leftovers. These recipes are for 48-50 people so you can expand if necessary. http://www.ange  le/xH1gravy.html

Step 6
Scrambled eggs are much easier if you use the oven and they are easy to portion into squares. here are two very good recipes for 100 servings. http://lotsofin  m/H32eggs100.htm

Step 7
http://lotsofin  crambledeggs.htm

Step 8
Baked oatmeal is good (but - not everybody likes oatmeal). http://www.ange  bakedoatmeal.htm

Step 9
Why not think about something like a rice casserole? It will go very fast especially if you have gravy. Here is a recipe if you want to try it. Easy Rice and Ham Casserole - http://www.ange  icecasserole.htm

Step 10
If you fix something like apple crisp or peach cobbler you will have no left overs. http://www.ange  2applecrisp.html

Step 11
it would be nice if you had someone making drop biscuits and serving gravy.

One very important fact: Do not use aluminum pans when preparing scrambled eggs!

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By 0 found this helpful
April 1, 2017

My church feeds a homeless mission in our area. We are small and money is tight. I need some ideas on how we can feed between 50-60 men once a month.


April 1, 20170 found this helpful

Looks like Thrifty Fun has a thread for Recipes for Homeless!

- Tuna sandwiches
- Beans
- Potato Salad
- Sloppy Joes
- And so forth.


http://www.thri  7843867.tip.html

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April 1, 20170 found this helpful

Rice and beans is a cheap, complete meal. You want to stay away from expensive cuts of meat, chicken tenders, and fish fillets. Canned salmon is also a good choice. What about spaghetti and meat sauce?

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April 2, 20171 found this helpful

Since you will be doing this on an on-going basis I have offered several suggestions (most all suggestions have been used by my group at one time or other).
We usually try to go with cheap but easy dinners so many times that means HoBo dinners. These are so easy and you can add almost any vegetable available and you can also add variety by using different ingredients. Just use a black marker and note one or more different ingredient on the outside of packet.
Here are a couple of links just in case you are not familiar with making hobo dinners (you may have to expand on ingredients to the number you need):

http://www.rada  il-recipe-video/

http://busycrea  com/hobo-dinner/

Here is a site that we use a lot for getting ideas for large groups:

http://www.ange  sfiftyindex.html

Here are some ideas (actual costs may not be correct) but some ideas we use:

http://www.thes  irt-cheap-meals/

Here is a great recipe for something a little different:

2 1/2 gallons water
8 oz. chicken base
4 oz. butter
3 lb. chicken
2 lb. medium noodles
2 tsp. parsley flakes
4 oz. chopped pimento
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. salt and pepper mix

Bring water to boil. Add chicken base, butter, and cut-up chicken to water. Cook approximately 35 minutes. Add noodles, parsley flakes, pimento, celery salt and salt and pepper mix and cook approximately 30 minutes (until noodles are tender).
Serves 32 9-ounce portions.

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April 3, 20170 found this helpful

Soups, stews, chicken dumpling soup :) If you want to get fancy, you can make large amounts of curry and rice for very little money:


2 cups uncooked instant white rice
3 3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
6 small red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (2 cups)
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces (3/4 cup)
1 extra-large vegetarian vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cook rice in 2 cups of the water as directed on package.

In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add curry powder, salt, cumin and ground red pepper; cook and stir 1 minute. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 1 minute longer.

Add potatoes, carrots, bouillon cube and 1 1/2 cups of the remaining water. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Add bell pepper; cover and simmer 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

In small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup water and the flour until smooth. Add to saucepan; cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Boil and stir 1 minute. Serve over rice.

(Above is a recipe for 4)

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April 5, 20170 found this helpful

Spaghetti with meat sauce is cheap, accompanied with garlic bread made from regular loaf bread. Find each on sale and use coupons along with sale price.

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April 7, 20170 found this helpful

Chili, speghetti, chicken and rice soup, baked potato bar, potato soup, mac and cheese, mac and tuna casserole.

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June 15, 20170 found this helpful

My ministry,, offers two meal shares weekly in our community, each serving 40-60 guests. The Wednesday meal is planned by me and usually consists of richly flavored ethnic foods with an emphasis on good protein and vegetables. The meals I offer usually cost about 60 cents a person, which I think is an excellent price. Money for the meals comes from my church and members of the community. Local school gardens supply us with fresh greens for weekly salads, as well as fresh herbs and other garden gifts. We also receive other donations of meat, canned tomatoes and olive oil which we use frequently.

I have learned from working closely with our friends who are homeless that many are in poor health, suffering from conditions like diabetes. They are made even more ill by the cheap, starch heavy foods they are often served. Foods full of starch and sugar raise blood sugars incredibly high. Diabetics who don't have access to necessities for good foot care are put at even greater risk by being fed with these unhealthy foods. It is important to avoid cheap starch and to focus on nutrient dense foods that genuinely support health.

There may be a temptation to add water to soups to make them go farther. Remember, however, that it does little good to send people away with bellies full of water. that water will soon be gone and they will be hungry, again.

Today, someone actually suggested to me that I serve my guests baby food and send them away with bags of cooked rice. He said it was "better than nothing". I think we can do better than better than nothing. We can feed people with love, dignity and respect. We can feed them with foods that taste like they were made with love by a friend for a friend. That is what Radical Love strives to do.

If you would like me to share some of my recipes I would be glad to do so. You can reach me though

Peace, erika

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July 16, 20170 found this helpful

The inexpensive brands of canned salmon are very nutritious and one can will feed several people when mixed with crackers, milk and egg, then fried as cakes. Also, spaghetti noodles can be stretched with less pasta sauce and mixed.

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August 30, 20170 found this helpful

Erika, I loved your post, everything made with that special ingredient- lurve! I feed up to 50 mixed nationalities in southern Spain,choosing recipes are sometimes difficult because of this mix.
Sometimes I receive gifts of food, amazing fresh vegetables and chicken breast etc., other times I can get handed a box of out of date dry goods-because that is what they think our friends are worth and they cannot bring themselves to admit they buy too much- salves a conscience! However, nothing is wasted- chickens dont mind out of date grains and they give lovely eggs to make bread pudding with.. hahaha. xx

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By 0 found this helpful
April 28, 2019

Do you have any nutritious, heart healthy recipes to be used at a soup kitchen to feed the homeless?

Thank you.

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March 22, 20181 found this helpful

It can be difficult to scale recipes for large crowds. This is a guide about cooking chicken stew for 1000 people.

Read More... Pin it! Was this helpful? 1

November 7, 20101 found this helpful

I am looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and can serve approximately 50 people. I have a youth group that is going to be cooking meals at a homeless shelter.

Comment Was this helpful? 1

November 7, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and can serve approximately 50 people. I have a youth group that is going to be cooking meals at a homeless shelter.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 7, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and can serve approximately 50 people. I have a youth group that is going to be cooking meals at a homeless shelter.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 7, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and can serve approximately 50 people. I have a youth group that is going to be cooking meals at a homeless shelter.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 7, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and can serve approximately 50 people. I have a youth group that is going to be cooking meals at a homeless shelter.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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