Free food banks in Collin County

Many people are struggling right now, and I am one of them. Over the past few years, I have:

  • Relapsed in my eating disorder recovery
  • Fallen homeless and found a place to live
  • Struggled to consistently work towards recovering from atypical anorexia nervosa

On top of global inflation. The struggle is real, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

If you’re struggling to pay for your bills and pay your family, or going hungry because of financial struggles, food banks and food pantries can help.

Linen bag filled with produce

How to find local food banks and food pantries in Collin County

There are a few ways you can search for food banks near you.

Search terms you can enter into your preferred search engine (e.g. Google):

  1. “food banks near me”
  2. “food banks in Collin County”
  3. “food pantries near me”
  4. “food pantries in Collin County”

Change “Collin County” to your country or city.

You can also search via NTFB.

Food bank shame

I felt ashamed to utilize food banks.

Being raised by caregivers who didn’t want an autistic child means my inner critic is extremely critical. Before I knew I was autistic, I thought something was inherently wrong with me that I couldn’t function the way my caregivers did.

I’m working on healing from shame, though, and will hopefully feel less ashamed of needing help over time.

Writing this post is easy, but the idea of publishing it is terrifying — yet, I think the only way to reduce the shame of poverty and financial struggles is to talk about it. To be open about this kind of thing.

Struggling financially and having atypical anorexia nervosa leads to what I’ve deemed “forced relapses”. I don’t want to relapse, nor do I want to die.

However, I’m undereating as a result of rationing my food due to financial struggles and food insecurity during the “famine” cycle of freelancing.

I started freelancing because autistic burnout caused me to lose skills, my ability to mask

Emphasized by being turned away in the past

My first time using a food bank, I felt so relieved. It was during the pandemic, which I had to work during. The second time I went,, the guy who was eyeing my cousin and me told me that they had a one household per rule — I was allowed to get groceries that second time but never again. 😰

I was so confused. I was my own household; I was responsible for most of my groceries — breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner sometimes when I didn’t like what Charlise made.

He didn’t explain, though — and he wouldn’t listen to me as I tried to explain my need for food assistance. Back then, I didn’t have the vocabulary I have now to express my needs; autism has a lot to do with that.

One of our insecurities, both being LGBTQ+ and her looking gay while I pass as straight, is people mistaking us as a lesbian couple. Probably didn’t help that I wore one of her babies because she was pregnant and couldn’t double wear.

It was a Christian food bank, and I think that’s honestly what happened. I saw him on one of the food bank’s Facebook posts, and it seems like it. 😓

I didn’t return to a food bank for a while. I was scared to be denied again. I began questioning my faith after that experience.

LGBTQ+ women are more likely to experience food insecurity than heterosexual women. The same study found emergency food resources (e.g. food pantries) don’t help reduce food insecurity over time. Recent studies reflect similar data.

To me, this was all the more reason to leave one’s homophobia (however misplaced) in their car.

If you feel ashamed by needing emergency food assistance

Adequate food is a human right.

I know we live in a state where human rights are challenged, especially those from marginalized communities.

To paraphrase my cousin:

These resources exist to help the people who need them. When people who need these resources don’t utilize them, the statistics go down and less people receive what they need.

You’re not taking away from people who need them if you are someone who needs them.

Tips for Client Choice food pantries

“Client Choice” is a style of food pantries wherein you choose what foods you take for your family. Many things have limits, though some things are unlimited.

Client Choice pantries sometimes have special partnerships with local stores. The Community Food Pantry of McKinney has a partnership with Trader Joes, which delivers flowers. 💐

The purpose of Client Choice pantries is to create less food waste by allowing clients the autonomy to choose what is best for them and their families, typically by simulating a shopping experience.

Here are a few tips to help you shop at Client Choice food pantries.

1. Take inventory of what you already have

I had a box of elbow noodles, so I made a mental note to grab pasta sauce and white cheese if I could, so I could do a pasta bake.

Knowing what you already have helps you figure out what meals you can make.


This doesn’t mean what you probably think it does.

I am not promoting taking more than you need. However, I took WAY LESS than I needed the first time I shopped at a food bank because I was insecure and didn’t want to seem like I felt “entitled”.

I barely took anything…and I regretted that two days later.

If you’re going to actually use what you take, then take it. Be mindful of the limits and aware of your needs.

Many food pantry volunteers say the TOP concern from their clients is not wanting to take “too much”.

If you take too much, cook meals for other people or donate the food to people who need it.

Corporations benefit from food insecurity because they get to donate the food they can’t sell and write it off.

3. Take the “first-time clients only” items

“First-time clients only” items usually include a toothbrush, toothpaste, body soap, shampoo and conditioner. Toilet paper and other hygiene products may also be available.

Although I’ve not had my menstrual cycle in two years, I’m glad I switched to reusable menstrual products ten years ago.

4. Know how to create basic, nutritional meals

Proteins, fruits, veggies and grains create a meal. You don’t always have to have fruits or veggies in a meal and can have one instead of the other. 🤷‍♀️

Good and Cheap is a free PDF book full of cheap meals.

  • Pasta bakes require only pasta, sauce and cheese — though adding a protein is a good idea and can even be chicken nuggets!
  • Most veggies can be turned into hearty soups.
  • Bread is a great, filling addition to almost any meal!
  • Many cereals can be turned into trail mix with some candy and/or freeze-dried fruit if you don’t like eating it with milk OR can’t afford allergy-friendly milk
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner DO NOT have to be traditionally appropriate. You can eat soup for breakfast.

5. Calorie-boosting tips

My body needs 3500-4000 calories in order to be at full capacity, courtesy of an eating disorder history of 14+ years.

If, for whatever reason, you need extra calories (which is ENERGY), here are my tips:

  • Replace most of your water intake with liquids that have energy (e.g. yogurt, juice, smoothies, nutritional drinks like Carnation, juicy fruits, soup)
  • Make smoothies using fruits, veggies and a liquid other than water (e.g. yogurt, nutritional drink, milk, juice)
  • Add bread to as many meals as you can
  • Take at least 2-3 of any “unlimited” snacks or calorie-containing drinks available
  • Add fruit and/or candy to yogurt

6. Max out your bread & produce limits

Food pantry and food bank volunteers report that produce and bread gets thrown out when they’re not taken.

They also see more waste after cleaning out the food bank. Perishables go bad quickly, after all.

7. Look at leftovers as ingredients

Stop looking at your leftovers like they’re leftovers. Start looking at leftovers like they are ingredients in your next dish.

List of food banks in Collin County

There are ~25 total food pantries in the Collin County area via the North Texas Food Bank. I’ve listed a few well-known ones below.


Angel Food Ministries/Allen First United Methodist Church of Allen

601 S. Greenville Ave.
Allen, Texas 75002

📞 972-727-8261

This location offers reduced-price food, for as little as 50% of the total bill towards high-quality items like breads, meats and produce.


Community Food Pantry of McKinney

307 Smith St.
McKinney, TX 75069

📞 972-547-4404

This food pantry alternates based on last name initial. Check the website for the times and last name schedule.

Community Lifeline Center

1601 N. Waddill St. Ste. 102
McKinney, TX 75070

📞 972-382-7476

The Community Lifeline Center has a food pantry and offers other assistance as well.

McKinney Little Free Pantry

There are currently 7 Little Free Pantry locations throughout McKinney.

The mini pantry movement helps communities feed each other during difficult times.


Amazing Grace Food Pantry

1711 Parker Rd.
Wylie, TX 75098

📞 972-292-7241

The Amazing Grace Food Pantry provides a week’s worth of groceries every week. It’s partially Client’s Choice, with the remainder being a box of groceries they curate. Toiletries, cleaning products, and pet food are occasionally available.

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