We serve a wholesome, freshly made meal each Saturday – one that we are happy to eat ourselves – in a respectful atmosphere to anyone who comes through our doors, no questions asked. We provide a welcoming place of respite for our guests and offer vital social services to those in need. We do this with an all-volunteer staff, without a single employee.




University Community Social Services was founded in 1982 by two professors who saw a great need among the many homeless people in their neighborhood. Together they started a temporary – or so they thought – soup kitchen open to anyone who needed sustenance. 


Over 30 years later, we’re still going strong, and the need is still great. Long ago, we figured out that meatloaf is a nourishing comfort food that makes a much better meal than soup. We make our meatloaf using an original recipe that we have perfected over the years. People love it, and we have come over time to be know as The Meatloaf Kitchen.



We've learned that just as good food nourishes the body, respect nourishes the soul.


Our soup kitchen was one of the first to seat and serve its guests with the courtesy one might find at a restaurant, as opposed to the traditional food line.


Despite our name, we are not affiliated with any university nor are we associated with any religious organization. Our volunteers come from all walks of life, bound together only by our shared desire to lend a helping hand to those in need.


In 2008, we moved from our long-time home in the basement of the Church of the Nativity on Second Avenue to our new location at the Cardinal Spellman Center, where we have the security of a long-term lease and a current, much improved kitchen.


One of the benefits of being there for our guests each and every Saturday for over 30 years is that we are often the most dependable thing in their lives, lives usually filled with great uncertainty. We have worked hard to earn their trust, which allows us to provide other much-needed services:


  • Volunteers overseen by a professional social worker assist our guests with advice and referrals for their housing, healthcare, employment, legal and other social service needs. 


  • We partner with other local community groups to provide direct services to our guests, including food stamp registration, vision screening and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. 


  • We provide computers for use by our guests. Volunteers are on hand to help put together résumés, teach basic computer skills, look for jobs, and research available services.


  • We operate a pantry for food staples.


  • We distribute donated clothing. Each winter we distribute warm coats to any guest that needs one.




Hunger doesn't take a vacation. Every week since our inception, through blackouts, heat waves, blizzards, and hurricanes even the terrorist attack of 9-11, the kitchen has been there, serving literally hundreds of thousands of meals to New Yorkers.


University Community Social Services (d/b/a The Meatloaf Kitchen) is a U.S. registered 501 (c) (3) tax exempt emergency food and social service non-profit organization. 2015. 

Photo Credit: Kenneth Jackson 2015, Joseph Montano 2015.

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