Feeding everyone is hard when you’re a homeless family. You can get food stamps when you are homeless. What you buy will vary greatly depending on your situation. Policies at food pantries vary widely, some places you must prove residence and income, some places you can just walk in and get food; you can ask at the town welfare office or homeless shelter for help with food. At an emergency shelter they will provide food. Many churches have free dinners monthly, and lots of places have soup kitchens. In transitional housing you may have access to a microwave, or if you’re lucky a stove. If you are camping you can use a fold up campstove to heat things.
If you are living in your car you have slightly better options for keeping things with you. For cheap, hot food McDonalds has a value menu. Grocery stores sometimes have deli areas with hot soup or pizza (not so much in a pandemic). You can’t eat fast food all the time, it will get very expensive and is not good for you. I have dietary restrictions that are very expensive, eating well is hard. You can buy microwave food at a supermarket, and then go across to the same company’s gas station/convenience store with your receipt to microwave it, but again this gets cumbersome with a lot of mouths to feed.
If you have somewhere to plug things in (like a camp site with power) you can use a rice cooker or crockpot, which you can stash in your storage unit when not in use. You can boil water on a campstove with propane, but this is more appropriate in a park than a Walmart parking lot, and cleanup is a pain with no running water. Some farms will let you glean produce their equipment doesn’t get, just ask. You can also show up at the end of a farmers market and offer to help pack up for some of the leftovers. You may not be hungry too often when you are homeless, but odds are decent you will be malnourished.
Check Eating Well, Cooking Light, Livestrong, and Good Cheap Eats for no-cook recipes. Most of these involve a little clean up, and possibly a can opener and knife. Keep in mind if it is perishable you will have to use it up right away. Rotisserie chickens are great for getting some protein and can be used in lots of recipes. We ate a lot of peanut butter and jelly, tuna sandwiches, and fruit. When we went in the store for a bathroom break I would sometimes get bagged salads, cold cuts, cheese sticks, and individual yogurts.
One good thing to make is instant oatmeal. If you don’t have access to a food processor or blender just chop some of your oats as small as you can stand it, it won’t be as creamy but it will still be good. It is good for you and you just need to add hot water. I fill a gallon ice cream tub with oatmeal for breakfasts. You can add what you like to make it to your taste, like cinnamon, raisins, honey, or yogurt. This is also a good way to stretch fresh fruit.
Getting dehydrated is a real risk if you are out of money. The struggles with finding a bathroom to use may make you drink less. You can do without food for a while, but not water. Keep several bottles with lids that you can refill at water fountains. In the summer these are available at playgrounds and parks. Walmarts almost always have a water fountain near the restrooms. If you are out camping make sure you have several gallons of water with you, do NOT assume because you are in the woods you can drink the water. You can boil “wild” water, and you can try a water bottle with a purifier in it, but this may not remove all of the impurities.