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FACT SHEET: USDA Support for Food Banks and the Emergency Food System

Press Release
Contact: FNS Press Team

Emergency food providers are vital partners in USDA’s efforts to promote food and nutrition security. USDA continues to invest in the emergency food system, which includes organizations such as food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, and more, to support communities and ensure families can keep healthy food on the table. Investments focus on additional food purchases, improving infrastructure, supporting health and nutrition, bolstering local food systems, and promoting access and equity to continue to drive toward a stronger tomorrow.

USDA’s support in fiscal year 2023 (October 2022 – September 2023) includes:
  • Nearly $550 million in base funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program, (TEFAP), including $445.5 million in food funding and $92 million in administrative funding to support states in distributing food through organizations like food banks. The food funding is an increase of $46 million over fiscal year 2022 because of the statutory annual adjustment to account for the cost of food based on the Thrifty Food Plan.
  • Nearly $2 billion to support additional food purchases for distribution to emergency food organizations funded by USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation. USDA provided nearly $1 billion in September 2022, and announced an additional $1 billion in June 2023 to support purchases in the current and future fiscal years.
  • A second round of nearly $60 million in TEFAP Reach & Resiliency Grants to help expand the reach of the emergency food system in underserved areas including remote, rural, tribal, low-income, or low food access communities. State agencies and local emergency feeding organizations are using the funds to implement unique, creative solutions to address program gaps and best serve their communities’ specific needs. The $60 million in round two funding is in addition to the $40 million distributed in fiscal year 2022.
  • Nearly $500 million ($471 million) in additional support for first-of-their-kind cooperative agreements to allow states and tribes to directly purchase local foods for distribution through emergency food providers, on top of the $400 million provided in fiscal year 2022. With these funds, USDA is supporting states, territories, and tribes in sourcing local foods for use in emergency nutrition assistance programs.
  • Funding for 28 TEFAP Farm to Food Bank Projects totaling nearly $4 million, a continued investment in projects that repurpose privately donated food that would otherwise be wasted for distribution through emergency feeding organizations.
  • Continued USDA Foods “bonus buys” throughout the year, made based on market need to support American farmers and distributed through TEFAP – building on the more than $500 million in “bonus buys” made in fiscal year 2022.

This support builds on other assistance provided in fiscal year 2022, including $500 million in supplemental funding for TEFAP provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and the Economic Security Act.

These historic investments represent supplemental support for the nation’s emergency food system totaling billions of dollars. This is in addition to resources from other federal agencies, such as the Department of the Treasury’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, which some states are using to help procure a continuous food supply for food banks and other emergency food providers.

Together, and in close collaboration with our partners in the emergency food system, we are helping to keep communities fed, healthy, and strong.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.

Page updated: November 08, 2023