The Emergency Food Assistance Program and Emergency Feeding Needs Page: 2 of 20
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The Emergency Food Assistance Program
and Emergency Feeding Needs
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP or EFAP) supports
emergency feeding efforts. It provides federally donated food commodities and cash
grants to states for food distribution to needy persons served by public and private
nonprofit emergency feeding organizations, such as food banks, food pantries,
emergency shelters, soup kitchens, charitable organizations, and local governments.
Federal support consists of: (1) "entitlement" food commodities bought
specifically for the program (a $100 million a year set-aside of funds appropriated
under the Food Stamp Act budget account for TEFAP purchases), (2) annual
appropriations for grants to help cover distributing agencies' food distribution costs
(typically $45 million a year), and (3) to the extent they are available, discretionary
donations of "bonus" commodities from federal inventories of foods acquired in
support of the agricultural economy (e.g., $162 million worth in FY2000).
Commodities and cash distribution-cost grants flow to local emergency feeding
agencies through the states, which receive their funds and commodity allocations
under a formula accounting for unemployment and poverty. Federal rules are
minimal; states determine which local agencies qualify, what eligibility rules will be
for applicants, and how and which foods will be distributed to local agencies.
For FY2001, the Agriculture Department appropriations law appropriated $45
million for distribution-cost grants and provided the full $100 million Food Stamp Act
set-aside for food purchases. The extent of additional FY2001 bonus commodity
donations is not yet known; however, preliminary estimates indicate that they will
substantially exceed the $162 million provided in FY2000.
For FY2002, the Administration proposed using the full $100 million Food
Stamp Act set-aside for TEFAP food purchases and appropriating $45 million for
distribution-cost grants. The House version of the FY2002 Agriculture Department
appropriations law (H.R. 2330) approves the $100 million set-aside and increases the
appropriation for distribution costs to $50 million. The Senate's version (S. 1191)
approves the $100 million set-aside, but includes no increase for distribution costs.
A perception that need for emergency food aid has risen (drawn from increased
demands on emergency feeding agencies and reduced receipt of food stamps) has led
to calls for increased help - especially with the cost of distributing food donations
received by emergency feeding agencies from both the private and public sectors.
The House Agriculture Committee has approved its version of the omnibus
"farm bill" (H.R. 2646; H.Rept. 107-191, Part I). This reauthorizes and increases
TEFAP funding by $40 million a year, and sets aside new money for distribution
costs. On August 13, 2001, P.L. 107-25, an emergency agricultural assistance
measure, was enacted. It provides an extra one-time amount of $10 million for
TEFAP distribution expenses.
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The Emergency Food Assistance Program and Emergency Feeding Needs, report, August 24, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc805887/m1/2/: accessed November 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.