The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) - FY23

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.

Non-Discrimination Statement (NDS)

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA's TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant's name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. Mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410
  2. Fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442
  3. Email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.