TEFAP is a federally funded program that provides USDA foods to low-income households. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, work with emergency feeding organizations throughout Florida to provide households in need with food assistance. Household programs include the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program.
TEFAP grants are based on a formula and provide USDA-donated food and administrative funds to States. States work with Emergency Feeding Organizations (EFOs), to distribute USDA-donated foods to (1) qualified households and (2) nonprofit organizations that prepare meals for low-income persons.
The program has been designed to make food available to needy persons through emergency feeding organizations that distribute foods purchased by the Federal government under agricultural support programs and additional nutritious and useful commodities. These food assistance commodities are usually more than domestic requirements and complement domestic nutrition needs and make maximum use of the Nation’s agricultural abundance. It is a federally funded program that helps supplement the diets of low-income households by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost.
TEFAP provides a variety of food, such as meats, eggs, vegetables, soup, beans, nuts, peanut butter, cereal, pasta, milk, and juice. In addition to that, the state distribution agencies can also demand commodities such as beans, blueberries, catfish, cheese, cherries, chicken, ground beef, lentils, milk, mixed fruit, peaches, plums, pork chops, raspberries, strawberries, tomato sauce, and turkey. The Emergency Food Assistance Program:
- Provides nutritious, high-quality foods to low-income households;
- Distributes food to participating food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens, and other feeding sites; and
- Supplies food to be served to individual households or as prepared meals in a community setting for eligible recipients.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services administers the Emergency Food Assistance Program through commodity agreements with Emergency Feeding Organization, local agencies, and Distribution Sites. These local agencies come in agreement with the state to distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. These recipient agencies include emergency feeding organizations, charitable institutions, summer camps or child nutrition programs, nutrition projects, and disaster relief programs. It is the agency’s responsibility to manage and distribute the food that they receive from the USDA. The amount received by these agencies can vary. This is due to the different number of unemployed and low-income individuals in a state. Many agencies in Florida are authorized to distribute TEFAP commodities for household distribution.
The services that are provided under The Emergency Food Assistance Program in Florida includes emergency food that is supplied for three to five days to needy individuals or families, prepared meals individuals are provided with on locations and food box. To ensure the availability of emergency food for three to five days, these boxes are distributed. They include the supply of USDA for individuals and families that can be labeled as needy. There are home meals that are for the disabled and elderly. To make sure that the food needs of the elderly and disabled are met, meals are prepared and delivered to those that are homebound. Needy children are provided with meals as well as after-school snacks. Mobile pantry and community locations are set up where food boxes are delivered.
Households that meet State eligibility criteria which include the income level of the household may receive food for home use. However, each state can adjust eligibility criteria to ensure that assistance is provided only to those households that are most in need. The requirements put forward by this program help to ensure that the needy people are helped first and foremost.
Households which are enrolled in one of the following programs are also eligible i.e. Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), SNAP (formerly food stamps), Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Old Age Pension (OAP), Aid to Needy Disabled (AND), Aid to the Blind (AB), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid Eligible households.
How to Apply
To become a candidate for this program, you do not have to complete a formal application. This eliminates the aspect of the interview as well. Instead, interested individuals have to simply visit the Congregate Meal Site. If they wish to be a consistent part of the TEFAP, they must bring the following items and sign in:
- Proof of Address. For this purpose, an individual can use documentation like a utility bill. Any documents verifying the current residential address can also be used. In the case of homelessness, it is expected for you to identify the cross-streets or locations where you spend your nights.
- Distribution sites may ask for Driver’s license, state ID
- A signed form of self-declaration. This document would include aspects that confirm that the individual meets the current income guidelines. It also states that the person will not sell or exchange the food they receive through this program. Moreover, it will also mention that the individual lives in the service area of the Food Pantry.
Meal Sites have been set up by the state of Florida. They are operational during normal service hours. In case an individual visits this site during these hours, they can receive a prepared meal.
For Further Information
To take further information about the program you can visit the USDA Food and Nutrition Service web page. Or visit The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) page for the state of Florida.
For more queries call – 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352) or 1-800-FL-AYUDA (1-800-352-9832)