The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Helping Families. Supporting Communities. Empowering Individuals.

What is the purpose of this service?

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFP) provides food at no cost to help supplement the diets of needy low-income households. TEFAP is a Federal program, administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Who can receive these services?

Individuals or households who are residents of Illinois and meet income guidelines. Food pantries may ask for proof of identity and residency. People who receive prepared meals at soup kitchens or homeless shelters are considered income eligible.

What services are offered?

In Illinois, the program is administered by the Department of Human Services, Emergency Food Program. The Department of Human Services contracts with 8 food banks across the state to oversee the release of food to food pantries and soup kitchens. The money granted under the contracts is used to give both privately donated food and USDA food.

Food pantries are open every week for at least two hours to serve the public and have privately donated food available on an emergency basis in addition to USDA commodities.