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 and the cornerstone of the Feeding America network’s food supply. Last year, the Feeding America network distributed 2.5 billion meals using food provided by TEFAP and other government programs.

Through the program, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases healthy foods – fruits, vegetables, and other staples – from U.S. farmers, growers, and producers. The Feeding America network then partners with states to connect families and individuals in need with the food.  

Why TEFAP Works

  • Foods distributed through TEFAP are a critical part of how food banks assist the people we serve. A third of the meals the Feeding America network provided in 2020 came from the food provided by the USDA. 

  • 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 funding for food purchases is established by the Farm Bill every five years.  

  • USDA makes food purchases to support U.S. growers and producers, and the purchased food is distributed through TEFAP and other USDA Food Distribution programs each year. The purchases provide a win-win for food banks, farmers, and our neighbors in need.

How to Invest In TEFAP

  1. Include additional funding for TEFAP purchases in the next COVID-stimulus bill. Allowing more food to be purchased through TEFAP will help food banks meet the increase in demand for food assistance. More TEFAP purchases equal more purchases from farmers - helping to support the nation’s agricultural economy.  

  2. Provide funding for food banks to offset the cost of the storage and distribution of USDA foods. Moving millions of pounds of perishable food requires more trucks, drivers, and refrigeration capacity. Many of the nutritious foods our network distributes through TEFAP are perishable and cost more to distribute than shelf-stable foods. Additional funding will help food banks have more funding to provide more support for those who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from. 

US Capitol

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