Other Programs

USDA TEFAP Information

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

TEFAP was first authorized to distribute surplus commodities as the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program in 1981. The 1988 Hunger Prevention Act required USDA to purchase additional commodities for low-income households and local emergency feeding organizations. Under the 1990 farm bill, the program was renamed The Emergency Food Assistance Program.

TEFAP provides USDA commodities to states, who distribute the food through local emergency food providers. Available foods vary depending on market conditions.

In 2012, more than $585 million worth of nutrition food commodities was distributed.

Each state determines criteria for household eligibility, and may adjust income criteria based on need in the state. Eligibility criteria may include participation in existing food or other assistance programs for which income is considered as a basis for eligibility.

In 2013, total federal funding for TEFAP was $615.54 million.

USDA CSFP Information

National CSFP Association

Commodity Supplemental Food Program

What is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)?
CSFP is a federal food program designed to improve the health and nutrition of senior citizens. It is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Participants receive a free box of commodities up to once a month. The commodities are tailored to the nutritional needs of the participants. They provide nutrients that the participants might not otherwise get.

Who is eligible for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program?

  • Seniors, at least 60 years of age, who have income at or below 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines.
  • Previously, pregnant and breastfeeding women, mothers up to one year postpartum, infants, and children up to age six were able to participate in CSFP. WIC participants were not eligible for the CSFP. The 2014 Farm Bill provides for the transition of CSFP to a seniors-only program as women and young children have been served by WIC rather than CSFP. In 2012, nearly 97 percent of those that relied on CSFP were seniors.

Who participates in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program?
In FY2012, an average of 594,000 people received food each month.  Of those, 576,000 were elderly people and more than 17,000 were women, infants, and children.

How does the Commodity Supplemental Food Program work?
Program administration varies from state to state. State agencies – generally departments of health, education, agriculture, or social services – receive administrative money and commodities from the USDA. Typically, the agencies then contract with public and non-profit organizations (such as food banks, hospitals, and other charitable organizations) to distribute the commodities, determine eligibility, perform outreach, and provide nutrition education. Commodities are generally distributed at warehouses, food pantries, hospitals, or community organizations. Some distribution sites deliver to participants who are unable to pick up the boxes themselves, because of age or disability.

What kind of food is distributed?
Food boxes are tailored to meet the nutritional needs of the participants. Examples of distributed food include formula, milk, cereal, juice, oats, pasta, rice, beans, peanut butter, cheese, canned meat and poultry, and canned fruits and vegetables.

How is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program funded?
In FY 2013, total federal funding for CSFP was $181.9 million for CSFP. The appropriations cover both the food itself and administrative costs.

Where is the Commodity Supplemental Food Program?
CSFP operates in 39 states, the District of Columbia, and two Native American reservations (in South Dakota and Minnesota). Click here for a list of states currently participating in CSFP.