The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)


The TEFAP provides food assistance to needy Americans through the distribution of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) commodities. Under TEFAP, USDA Foods are made available to states for distribution to households for use in preparing meals for home consumption or to organizations that prepare and provide meals for needy people. Foods are distributed free, but recipients of food for home use must meet program eligibility criteria set by the state. State Agencies receive the food and oversee distribution.  Local agencies, usually food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens have been designated by the state to distribute the food to eligible participants. TEFAP provides food regularly for needy households, and is a separate program from USDA's disaster assistance commodity food program, which provides food for mass feeding and household use of victims of natural disasters.

Emergency Food Assistance Program
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Drug Administration


Public or private nonprofit organizations that provide nutrition assistance to low-income Americans, either through the distribution of food for home use or the preparation of meals, may receive food as local agencies. They must also meet the following criteria:

  • Organizations that distribute food for home use must determine household eligibility by applying income standards set by the State
  • Organizations that provide prepared meals must demonstrate that they serve predominately low-income persons

Households that meet State eligibility criteria may receive food for home use. States set income standards, which 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.

Local agencies (usually food banks, shelters, and soup kitchens) have an agreement with the Utah Food Bank and have been designated to distribute the food to eligible participants.

For help understanding basic qualification requirements or if you need assistance with the application process please contact USBE CNP.


In person and on-line training requests can be made by contacting USBE CNP.


For additional forms or resources please contact USBE CNP


In coordination with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), our office distributes policy memorandums to provide guidance and clarify program requirements and regulations.

USDA/FNS Policy center allows you to search for current and archived USDA published policy memorandum.

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