USDA invests in emergency food system

The U.S. Department of Agricul – ture’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 securi- ty,” said Stacy Dean, deputy under secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “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. 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