4505 - Emergency Food Program

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Do You Need Emergency Food? or Would You Like To Assist Those In Need By Helping To Distribute Food?

Emergency Food Program (EFP)

The Emergency Food Program is a USDA food commodities program administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services with distribution through regional foodbanks.

The Emergency Food Program (EFP), also known as the Commodities Program, has been helping low-income households for many years.

Examples of USDA commodities used in the EFP include frozen meats, canned beef and pork, rice, fruit juices, dried pasta, beans, canned fruits and vegetables.

The primary purpose of EFP is to provide an emergency response to hunger.

  • Foodbanks receive USDA food commodities and administrative funding from EFP.
  • Foodbanks establish contracts with food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters to distribute USDA commodities and privately donated food to needy persons.
  • The type of agencies operating food pantries and soup kitchens are usually churches, community groups and governmental agencies such as township offices.
  • Food for household use is distributed through food pantries, and prepared meals are provided by soup kitchens and homeless shelters.
  • Food pantries and soup kitchens rely almost exclusively on volunteer labor.
  • All Illinois residents with household incomes at or below 185% of the poverty level are eligible for EFP food for household use.
  • Self-declaration is an allowable method for establishing eligibility for EFP food at food pantries.
  • Persons requesting meals at soup kitchens are presumed to be eligible.
  • Food is distributed on a first come-first serve basis during the scheduled hours of operation at the distribution facility.

EFP Foodbanks

  • Central Illinois Foodbank
    2000 East Moffat
    Springfield, IL 62702
  • Eastern Illinois Foodbank
    2405 North Shore
    Urbana, IL 61802
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository
    4100 West Ann Lurie Place
    Chicago, IL 60632
  • Northern Illinois Foodbank
    273 Dearborn Court
    Geneva, IL 60134
  • Peoria Area Foodbank
    711 West McBean
    Peoria, IL 61605
  • River Bend Foodbank
    309 12th Street
    Moline, IL 61265
  • St. Louis Area Foodbank, Inc
    70 Corporate Woods Drive
    Bridgeton, MO 63044-3806
  • Tri-State Foodbank, Inc
    801 E. Michigan Avenue
    Evansville, IN 47711

Prohibited Activities for Issuance or Receipt of Federal Food Commodities

  • Fees may not be charged and donations or contributions may not be solicited.
  • Membership in any organization may not be required as a condition for receipt of commodities.
  • Commodities may not be sold, exchanged or used for personal gain, or in any other fraudulent manner.
  • Commodities may not be distributed in connection with any political activity.
  • Commodities at food pantries are to be distributed for household consumption only.
  • Commodities must be distributed in original packaging. Notice To EFP Participants

Upon acceptance of USDA food commodities, you are required to certify with your signature that:

  • Your gross household income does not exceed Illinois Department of Human Services established income limits. Household income includes, but is not limited to, all wages, pensions, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement, income from rented or leased property, interest or dividends from savings, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds and income from all other sources.
  • You are receiving commodities for household consumption only.
  • You release USDA, the State of Illinois and any agency or person distributing commodities from all liability resulting from receipt of commodities.

Willful diversion of commodities for personal gain is a federal offense, subject to a fine of $25,000 and/or imprisonment up to 5 years.

"…And Justice for All"

EFP is operated in accordance with the USDA policy which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

Any person who believes he or she has been discriminated against in any USDA-related activity should write to the USDA, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C., 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice), (800) 877-8339 (TTY), (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

If you are a person in need of food and you do not know the location of your nearest food pantry or soup kitchen…


If you are interested in volunteering to help in a food pantry or soup kitchen but don't know where they are located…

CALL YOUR EFP FOODBANK listed on the inside of this brochure.

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4505 (N-3-12) Emergency Food Program
Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.  500 copies, P.O. #12-1082