The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Last updated 03/27/19

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) program that helps to supplement the diets of low-income individuals or households, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. USDA TEFAP grants are based on formula and provide USDA-donated food and administrative funds to States. States work with Eligible Recipient Agencies (ERAs), including Emergency Feeding Organizations (EFOs), to distribute USDA-donated foods to (1) qualified households and (2) nonprofit organizations that prepare meals for low-income persons.

In Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2018, Hawaii received $176,308.00 in administrative funds and $894,346.00 in USDA-donated TEFAP food. Food and funds are allocated to our EFO partners based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) for Hawaii: 61.34% is allocated to the City and County of Honolulu, 22.60% to Hawaii County, 11.75% to Maui County, and 4.31% to Kauai County. TEFAP provides a wide range of foods, from chicken and beans to pears, cranberry juice and rice.

For FFY 2019, USDA estimates that Hawaii will be provided at least $946,067.00 in USDA-donated TEFAP food and $177,632.00 in administrative funding.  Below is the distribution of the administrative funding for FFY 2019:

County % for Food Distribution Administrative Funding
City & County of Honolulu 61.34% $81,719.00
Kauai County 4.31% $5,742.00
Maui County 11.75% $15,654.00
Hawaii County 22.60% $30,109.00
Interisland Shipping
OCS Administration
TOTAL 100% $177,632.00

In order to manage this program, the Office of Community Services (OCS) submits a TEFAP Distribution Plan for USDA approval (10/2017 Distribution Plan). This Distribution Plan specifies program details,including the following:

  • For an individual or household to be eligible for TEFAP commodities in the State of Hawaii, they must have a total gross income no greater than 185% of the amount specified in the Federal Poverty Eligibility Guidelines.  The Federal Poverty Eligibility Guidelines are updated annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and can be found at
  • Applicants must document their eligibility by filling out and signing a certification of self-declaration of income.

For more information about how to access TEFAP foods, contact our four (4) EFOs participating in TEFAP in Hawaii:

Service Provider Partners (EFOs and ERAs)Click here for forms and documents related to the program.

Resources for Further Information


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