Food is one of the most fundamental requirements that all humans need to thrive. Unfortunately, however, millions of Americans are unable to afford the cost of food. If you do not have the means to access food, you don’t have to go hungry; you may be eligible for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

What is the TEFAP?

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is grant program that is funded by the federal government. The goal of this program is to provide supplemental food for low-income Americans who otherwise would not be able to receive the nourishment they require.

The TEFAP provides the funding that is required for the USDA to purchase various types of nutritious food items. The food that is purchased is then made available to State Distributing Agencies, and the amount of food that each state is provided with is based on the combined total amount of people who are unemployed and whose income is below the state’s poverty level; therefore, states that have a higher unemployment and poverty level rates receive more food than states that have lower unemployment and poverty level rate. Each state distributes the food that they receive to predetermined local agencies, such as food banks, and these agencies then distribute food to various local organizations that serve the public directly, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and housing shelters. The food can also be distributed to location organizations that provide items directly to low-income individuals. Each year, millions of Americans who would otherwise go hungry receive the food that they need through the TEFAP.

TEFAP Eligibility Requirements

In order to receive food through TEAFP, applicants must meet specific requirements. In order to be eligible, you will need to meet the income standards that have been established by your state. The income standards may be left up to the discretion of the state in which you reside. They may also be determined by your eligibility for other welfare programs. However, locations to reserve the right to adjust the eligibility requirements in order to make sure that assistance is offered to those who need it the most.

Types of Food Available through the TEFAP

All of the foods that are available through the TEFAP meet stringent USDA standards, meaning that they are safe and highly nutritious. The types of food offered do vary from location to location, as they are based on the preferences of each state, as well as the current conditions of the agricultural market. However, rest assured that those who receive food through this program do receive various types of highly nutritious food items, such as fresh produce, meat, poultry, dairy products, grain-based products, canned foods, and eggs, just to name a few.

How to Apply

In order to apply for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, check with your local State Distributing Agency (SDA). You can find information online on their website. A representative at your local SDA will be able to assist you with the application process.