Emergency Food Assistance Program (Food Commodities)

To help supplement the diets of low-income persons by making USDA Foods available to the State agencies that are responsible for the distribution of USDA Foods within the States.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Regional Agency Offices.

Selected Recipients for this Program

RecipientAmount Start DateEnd Date
Health Services, Wisconsin Department Of $ 98,449   2019-10-012022-09-30
Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands $ 410,818   2020-10-012021-09-30
Commonwealth Of The Northern Mariana Islands $ 262,055   2020-03-272021-09-30
Social Services, Missouri Department Of $ 116,878   2020-05-272021-05-28
Family Services, Wyoming Department Of $ 10,656   2020-05-272021-05-28
Agriculture, Texas Department Of $ 615,786   2020-05-202021-05-21
Human Services, Arkansas Department Of $ 69,090   2020-05-202021-05-21
Arizona Department Of Economic Security $ 167,935   2020-05-202021-05-19
Health And Welfare, Idaho Department Of $ 0   2020-05-202021-05-19
Oregon Department Of Human Services $ 87,558   2020-05-202021-05-19

Program Accomplishments

Fiscal Year 2016: Provided 460,073,845 pounds of USDA Foods purchased with appropriated funds for TEFAP to State and local agencies for distribution to needy persons for use at home or for use at sites which serve prepared meals. Fiscal Year 2017: No current data available. Fiscal Year 2018: No current data available.

Uses and Use Restrictions

USDA Foods can only be used to provide food assistance to needy persons.

USDA Foods may be provided for household consumption or for congregate feeding.

The State agency must give priority to emergency feeding organizations such as soup kitchens, food banks, and food pantries, including faith-based organizations.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

State agencies that are designated as distributing agencies by the Governor or other appropriate State executive authority may receive and distribute USDA Foods.

States can distribute these foods to eligible recipient agencies, such as food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and other eligible agencies, including faith-based organizations.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Low-income and needy individuals, including persons that are homeless, unemployed, underemployed, or receiving public assistance. The State agency must establish income-based eligibility criteria to ensure USDA Foods are provided to the needy. Persons interested in receiving TEFAP should contact their State agency (http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/contacts/SdaContacts.htm) for more information on how to access the program.


Low-income individuals receiving USDA Foods for home consumption must establish eligibility to participate in the program on the basis of State eligibility standards. All individuals seeking food assistance at sites which serve prepared meals are presumed to be eligible to receive meals. 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles applies to this program.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Preapplication coordination is not applicable.

Environmental impact information is not required for this program.

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.

12372, 'Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.' An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.

Application Procedures

2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. All States are eligible to participate; the State does not need to complete an application.

Award Procedures

USDA Foods are allocated among the States on the basis of a legislatively-mandated formula that takes into account each State's relative share of the national number of persons with income below the poverty level (60 percent) and of unemployed persons (40 percent).


Not Applicable.


Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983, Public Law 98-8, 97 Stat. 35, 7 U.S.C 7501; Hunger Prevention Act of 1988, Public Law 100-435, 102 Stat. 1647; Public Law 101-624, 104 Stat. 3359; Public Law 104-193, 110 Stat. 2105; Public Law 104-127, 110 Stat. 1029; Public Law 107-171, 116 Stat. 330; Public Law 110-246, 122 Stat. 1882; American Recovery Act and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Public Law 111-5.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not Applicable.


Not Applicable.


Federal/State agreements are ongoing and amended as necessary. Individuals receiving food for home consumption are recertified periodically. Persons receiving USDA Foods in the form of meals from sites which serve prepared meals are presumed to be eligible.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Statutory Formula: Title Agriculture, Chapter 7, Part 251. USDA Foods are allocated among the States based on a legislatively-mandated formula. The allocation formula is based in part (60 percent) on the number of people whose income is below the poverty level and in part (40 percent) on the number of unemployed persons. This program has no matching requirements. MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

USDA Foods are made available on an ongoing basis. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.

Post Assistance Requirements


No reports are required.


In accordance with the provisions of 2 CFR 200, Subpart F - Audit Requirements, non-Federal entities that expend financial assistance of $750,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Non-Federal entities that expend less than $750,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.503.


Normal records accounting for receipts and dispersals; retention required for 3 years following the close of the fiscal year or until any outstanding audit, claim, or litigation is settled.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Formula Grants) FY 16 $292,068,571; FY 17 est $316,000,000; and FY 18 est $289,000,000 - In FY 2015 and 2016, appropriations legislation provided State agencies with the opportunity to convert up to 10% of their TEFAP food funds to administrative funds. In FY 2015, States elected to convert $24,349,694 to administrative funds. In FY 2016, States elected to convert $23,374,343to administrative funds.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

In Fiscal Year 2016, the range of awards was from $148,403 to $37,275,509, after conversions; the average award was $5,310,338.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 251; refer to 7 CFR Part 250 for applicable provisions on USDA Foods handling.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Regional Agency Offices.

Headquarters Office

Erica Antonson 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302 Email: Erica.Antonson@fns.usda.gov Phone: 7033052680

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not Applicable.

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