Cause Area

  • Community
  • Crisis Support
  • Homeless & Housing
  • Hunger
  • People with Disabilities


1105 GILBERT CT STE 100IOWA CITY, IA 52240 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

An open door, a full plate, no questions asked. The Free Lunch Program (FLP) is one of the "quiet services" in the Iowa City area that strives to do one thing well: provide a free, filling and healthy lunch to anyone who comes to us. Volunteers bring a spirit of caring and compassion to our program as the people we serve are treated as guests. We come together knowing that we’re all deeply connected and dependent on one another, no matter our current circumstances. Lunch is served by teams of dedicated volunteers Monday through Saturday from noon to 1pm at 1105 S. Gilbert Court in Iowa City, Iowa.


The Free Lunch Program (FLP) began in January 1983 when two therapists from the Community Mental Health Center, wishing to address the concerns of their clients, spoke to a Lenten study group at St. Mary’s Parish about the need for a free meal for people in the community. The response was, "Let’s do it."

By 1989, the Free Lunch Program had become a designated United Way agency and expanded to a six-day-a-week meal program with over 35 different religious, student, neighborhood, and social groups providing the meals. Volunteer teams prepare and serve nutritious meals using their own food or the food from local restaurants, grocery stores, and food distributors via Table to Table Food Rescue Organization, and from items in the Free Lunch pantry obtained through the HACAP Food Reservoir.

Because of COVID-19 and for the safety of our clients, volunteers, and staff, the program’s lunch room is currently closed, and buffet-style service has been replaced with lunches to-go that may be picked up from a door on the north side of the building.


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