Our Lawmakers Must Invest in TEFAP

The Emergency Food Assistance Program moves food from farms to food banks to families facing hunger.

What is TEFAP?

The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, is a federal nutrition program that moves food from farms to food banks to people facing hunger.

Through TEFAP, the USDA purchases healthy foods—fruits, vegetables and other staples—from U.S. growers and producers. Feeding America network food banks, and other food-distributing organizations, then partner with states to distribute this food to people in need.

The program is a cornerstone of the Feeding America network’s food supply. Last fiscal year, the Feeding America network received 1.24 billion pounds of food from TEFAP, providing over 1 billion meals to people facing hunger.

Why TEFAP Works

  • Foods distributed through TEFAP are critical to how food banks help reduce hunger. Over 20% of the food distributed through Feeding America member food banks and local hunger-relief programs comes from TEFAP.

  • TEFAP offers more than 120 nutritious foods, including fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, milk and cheese, and whole-grain and enriched grain products, including rice, cereal, and pasta. 

  • TEFAP has a strong impact on the farm economy. In fiscal year 2022, TEFAP provided $399 million in food purchases nationwide.

The Farm Bill and TEFAP

The farm bill establishes funding for food purchases through TEFAP. The 2023 Farm Bill must strengthen TEFAP funding so food banks have a reliable food source to meet the increased demand for food assistance.

Lawmakers must:

  • Authorize and increase mandatory funding for TEFAP food purchases to $500 million annually. This would double the annual amount of funding for TEFAP entitlement commodities. The new level would ensure a steady flow of TEFAP foods to food programs like food banks and support the US agricultural economy.

  • Reauthorize and increase to $200 million per year funding for TEFAP storage and distribution and reauthorize $15 million for TEFAP infrastructure grants. These funds help food banks offset the cost of storing and transporting USDA foods, especially in rural communities. In addition, they will cover expenses like refrigeration and fuel.

US Capitol

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