The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) distributes food purchased by the USDA, using state and local resources to make that food available to those in need. The amount of food received by each state depends on its low-income and unemployed population and state agencies work out details of administration and distribution with partner local organizations, like food banks, that either directly distribute to households or serve meals, or distribute to other local organizations that perform these functions.
USDA foods distribution:
Under TEFAP, USDA foods are made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to states. States provide the food to local agencies they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn, distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public.
Households that meet state eligibility criteria:
Each state sets criteria for determining what households are eligible to receive food for home consumption. Income standards may, at the state’s discretion, be met through participation in other existing federal, state, or local food, health, or welfare programs for which eligibility is based on income.
States can adjust the income criteria in order to ensure that assistance is provided only to those households most in need. However, recipients of prepared meals are considered to be needy and are not subject to a means test.
Standard USDA Statement of Non-Discrimination
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
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