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.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Office: Food and Nutrition Service
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2014: Provided 384,457,787 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 2015: No current data available. Fiscal Year 2016: No current data available.
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.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
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 the commodities are provided to the needy. Persons interesting 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.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
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 Procedure
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 Procedure
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.
Approval/Disapproval Decision 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.
How are proposals selected?
Not Applicable.
How may assistance be used?
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.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
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.
Other 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 unemployed persons.
This program has no matching requirements.
MOE requirements are not applicable to this program.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
None. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: by letter of credit.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
See Regional Agency Offices.
Headquarters Office
Dana Rasmussen 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302 Email: dana.rasmussen@fns.usda.gov Phone: 7033052662
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Formula Grants) FY 14 $245,735,918; FY 15 est $327,000,000; and FY 16 est $319,750,000 - In FY 2013 and 2014, appropriations legislation provided State agencies with the opportunity to convert up to 10% of their TEFAP food funds to administrative funds. In FY 2013, States elected to convert $18,401,16 to administrative funds. In FY 2014, States elected to convert $19,513,052 to administrative funds.
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
In Fiscal Year 2014, the range of awards was from $115,538 to $31,670,610, after conversions; the average award was $4,467,926.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
7 CFR Part 251; refer to 7 CFR Part 250 for applicable provisions on USDA Foods handling.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not Applicable.


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