The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) held a listening session regarding the provisions of The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) on March 13, 2019. 224 people registered for the call and 166 people called into the session.
After introductions by Brandon Lipps (Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the USDA) and Kate Fink (Director of External and Governmental Affairs, FNS), Laura Castro (Director, Food Distribution Division, FNS) provided an overview of the provisions impacting these two programs, specifically provisions from Sections 4018 (see p.6), 4102 (p. 8), and 4104 (p. 8). The complete citation is given in the full transcript that follows.
There were four commenters during this listening session, two comments were submitted via email. Comments are summarized below, followed by the transcript and emails received.
2 commenters, Danah Craft and Carrie Calvert, mentioned that FNS should allow the 50 percent match to include private philanthropy contributions. Another commenter, Barbara Scholz, noted that she was happy hear that the Farm Bill encourages input from the community about preferences for commodities. Finally, Susan Linter commented via email that TEFAP was a critical resource for Americans experiencing food insecurity and provides certainty that they can rely on federal nutrition programs to put food on the table.
During the March 19, 2019 SNAP Listening Session,l Earline Middleton (Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC) commented they supported appropriations that support strong funding for TEFAP, which includes the $100 million for TEFAP storage and distribution.
With regard to CSFP, three people provided comments; all of them spoke of the certification period. Lindsay Sgambato wanted further clarification regarding the requirement to do a formal review of a new application at three years, versus an informal review every year. Michael Halligan noted there are some challenges around providing an extended certification relative to annual changes in case load. And, finally, Barbara Scholz welcomed the increase from a 6 month to a one year recertification period, citing that it creates a good balance of reducing the paperwork burden on seniors and food banks, while still ensuring program integrity.
During this March 19, 2019 SNAP Listening Session, Earline Middleton (Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC) also expressed support for appropriations for CSFP that provide an increase in the Program’s funding, noting that they have nearly 50,000 seniors in their service area, but currently they are only able to serve nearly 6,000 seniors in 24 counties.