Chelsea Eats: Chelsea Food Debit Card Program

Chelsea Eats has no cost for applicants. This is a local program, and the public charge rule does not apply to it.

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Because the City received more applications than it can fund, the City will hold a weighted lottery to select recipients. Preference will be given to families with children, disabled residents, veterans, seniors 65+, households who are ineligible for other forms of government assistance, and the most economically disadvantaged residents. The City will hold this lottery on Thursday, September 17, at 5 pm, available for viewing via Facebook Live.

All applicants will receive a letter with their assigned lottery number during the week of September 7th. If you have any questions, please contact the City of Chelsea, calling 617-466-4209.

Survey: Chelsea Eats is conducting a project to understand how Chelsea residents are coping during the Covid 19 pandemic, especially those whose families have been financially hard-hit. There will be 4-5 surveys total, one per month, between now and January 2021. In order to participate, residents must take the first survey before the Chelsea Eats Debit Card lottery drawing.

  • Who can participate in the survey? Anyone who submitted a qualified application for a Chelsea Eats debit card can participate.
  • If I applied for a Chelsea Eats debit card but was ineligible can I still participate? No.
  • How do I access the survey? Please take the survey online at You can take the survey on a smartphone or computer. If you don't have a smartphone or need assistance reading, please call 617-863-6718, leave a voicemail with your phone number and participant number, and someone will call you back.
  • Where do I find my participant number? Your participant number is listed on the survey invitation letter and reminder postcard that will be arriving this week. You will also receive a reminder text message later this week with the survey link and your participant ID.
  • What do I get for completing the survey? You will receive a $20 debit gift card in the mail shortly after completing the survey.
  • Can I take the survey more than once? You can take each unique survey one time, for a total of 4-5 surveys between now and January.
  • How long does the survey take? The survey takes about 25 minutes.
  • What languages can I take the survey in? English & Spanish.
  • If I don't sign up before the lottery can I participate in other surveys? No, residents must participate in the first survey before the card lottery in order to take subsequent surveys.


The deadline for applications is August 17, 2020.


The program is open to all income-eligible Chelsea residents who meet the program's criteria, regardless of their immigration status:

  • Be a Chelsea resident.
  • Submit a fully completed application
  • Your application must certify compliance with requirements related to household income, assets, and public benefits
  • Your household income must be at or below 30% of the HUD Area Median Income (AMI). To know if you qualify, please check the table below.
  • Families with children, disabled residents, veterans, seniors over 65, households that have been economically impacted by COVID-19, and households that are ineligible for other forms of federal assistance, such as SNAP and WIC will have preferences. The program will also connect eligible residents to SNAP, WIC, and other forms of food assistance. Local merchants interested in participating in the program as an Official Chelsea Eats Partner are encouraged to contact the Department of Housing and Community Development by calling 617-466-4192.

Household Size

Income limits

















How to Apply:

1. Online: 
Online Applications are available in English and Spanish. Applications will be also available in other languages soon.
2. By email:

Download your application (available in multiple languages). When completed, submit your application to

3. By phone:

Dial 311 while you are in Chelsea (or 617-466-4209) during office hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 am to 3 pm
  • Tuesdays from 9 am to 6 pm
  • Friday from 9 am to 11 am
4. In-person:

You may request a copy of the application from or come to City Hall during the business hours (mentioned above) to ask for a hard copy application.

City's food pantry locations, from 9 a.m. to noon:

  • Monday - Early Learning Center (Shurtleff St. entrance)
  • Tuesday - Bellingham Hill Park (100 Bellingham St.)
  • Wednesday - Washington Park (Pratville)
  • Thursday - Chelsea Square (Broadway near the Police Station)
  • Friday - Mary C. Burke Complex Parking lot (300 Crescent Ave)

Other Programs:

If you need food assistance, but you are not eligible for this program, please explore SNAP "Food Stamp" benefits by reaching the following resources:

Parent Information Center (Early Learning Center, Shurtleff St. entrance)


Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline
1-800-645-8333 Monday-Friday: 8 am-7 pm. Saturday: 10am-2pm

QUESTIONS?: Call 311 (617-466-4209) or email