USDA Further Invests in Expanding the Reach and Resiliency of the Emergency Food System
Washington, D.C., Dec. 5, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service is inviting applications for the second of two rounds of grants to improve the reach of The Emergency Food Assistance Program, commonly known as TEFAP. Both rounds of grants – totaling up to $100 million and funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 – are intended to equip state agencies and emergency food providers to better serve those in need of food in remote, rural, tribal, and other low-income areas that face persistent poverty and inequality.
“State agencies and emergency food providers such as food banks, soup kitchens, and food pantries are vital partners in USDA’s efforts to promote food and nutrition security. We’re already seeing early signs that the first round of the TEFAP Reach and Resiliency grants are working to make this system even stronger and get emergency food assistance to more people who need it,” said Stacy Dean, deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “In round two, our team looks forward to expanding and deepening our work with partners to extend the reach of TEFAP into underserved areas, supporting communities that have long faced systematic barriers to opportunity and providing them with reliable, equitable access to food when they need it most.”
The struggle against hunger is a daily reality for too many Americans, and food insecurity is not equally experienced across different communities or groups. Historically underserved communities, such as people of color, Indigenous communities, members of religious minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, people with disabilities, rural communities, and many others, often face barriers to getting the healthy food they need for themselves and their families. Through the Reach and Resiliency grants, the Food and Nutrition Service and its state partners are working to ensure that TEFAP’s much-needed emergency food assistance—via food banks, soup kitchens, and more—reaches communities where assistance is lacking but desperately needed.
Through TEFAP, USDA purchases a variety of nutritious, domestically sourced and produced foods for state agencies (known as USDA Foods). States then provide the food to participating local emergency food providers, usually food banks, which in turn distribute the food to local organizations like food pantries that directly serve the public.
States receiving TEFAP Reach and Resiliency Grants will use funds to implement unique and creative solutions to extend the program’s reach, such as leveraging mobile food pantries on tribal lands, improving cultural competency to better serve diverse populations, and purchasing equipment needed to transport food to remote areas.
Awardees, grant amounts, and project descriptions from the first phase of funding can be found on the Round One Projects webpage. Just over $60 million is available for round two grantees. The application period for round two is open through Monday, March 6, 2023. For more information on the grant initiative, read Overview of Grant Opportunity. To apply for a 2023 TEFAP Reach and Resiliency grant opportunity, visit Grants.gov.
TEFAP Reach and Resiliency Grants are part of a larger strategy to support the emergency food system and ensure families can keep healthy food on the table. USDA’s support in fiscal year 2023 (October 2022 – September 2023) includes:
- Nearly $1 billion ($943 million) to support additional food purchases for distribution to emergency food organizations beginning in fiscal year 2023 funded by USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation.
- Nearly $500 million in additional support for first-of-their-kind Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreements to allow states and tribes to directly purchase local foods for distribution through emergency food providers. USDA is already in the process of completing agreements with many states, territories, and tribes to source products from within their state or tribe (or within 400 miles) for use in emergency nutrition assistance programs. USDA recently announced that a historic $100 million of the new funds will be allocated to tribes to help address the disproportionate food insecurity needs in Indian Country and ensure a more equitable distribution of LFPA resources.
- Continued commodity food support “bonus buys” —to be made based on market need throughout the year—for distribution through TEFAP, building on the nearly $700 million in “bonus buys” made in fiscal year 2022.
This is on top of nearly $450 million in annual base funding for TEFAP and in addition to resources available through 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.
In addition, FNS recently awarded more than $3.7 million of TEFAP Farm to Food Bank grants to 28 states to pay for projects to harvest, process, package, or transport commodities donated by agricultural producers, processors, or distributors for use by emergency feeding organizations. To learn more about these projects, visit Farm to Food Bank Project Summaries.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 15 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.
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