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  • Overview

    The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) was designed to distribute federally donated food to eligible, needy persons throughout the country. Since 1982, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA) has administered TEFAP in New Jersey, distributing several million pounds of federal food throughout the state’s twenty-one counties. This program currently provides over 70 different food items such as: Fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, fish, ham, rice, pasta, cereal, canned beans, raisins, peanut butter, bottled fruit juices, milk, canned fruits and vegetables etc., to New Jersey’s eligible citizens challenged by food insecurity. Currently, New Jersey receives over 20 million pounds of TEFAP foods annually from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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  • Distribution System

    The NJDA manages the TEFAP food ordering and scheduling of direct shipments from USDA vendors to six state-contracted Emergency Feeding Organizations (EFOs), who coordinate distribution throughout New Jersey. Under the auspices of NJDA, the EFOs have developed a network of local distribution agencies (LDAs) responsible for the actual distribution of these foods to eligible recipients. TEFAP foods are principally allocated to EFOs based on the number of recipients the EFO serves through its LDAs.

    An LDA can be an emergency food pantry, a soup kitchen, a homeless shelter, or a needy feeding agency. Currently, over 800 LDAs receive TEFAP food. All LDAs must be public or private non-profit organizations, and meet specific requirements. TEFAP foods aid the efforts of local food pantries in providing nutritious sustenance for households in need, and also augment meal preparation at shelters and soup kitchens.

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  • Recipient Eligibility

    To be eligible to receive TEFAP foods from an LDA, an individual or family must participate in one of these qualifier programs:
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
    • Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP)
    • Supplement Security Income (SSI)
    • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program
    • Medicaid
    • Low Inc. – Low Income (per current guidelines)
    • Dis - Disaster

    Or, have total household income less than 185% of the federal poverty guidelines.

    TEFAP foods constitute an ongoing source of high quality, nutritious food for New Jersey’s Emergency Feeding Organization’s network. Through its Food Distribution Bureau’s TEFAP office, the NJDA’s Division of Food and Nutrition strives to accept and distribute the maximum volume of USDA donated food to as many eligible recipients as possible. The department’s TEFAP effort relies on the many volunteers and agencies that distribute USDA TEFAP foods.

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  • More Information

    NJ Department of Agriculture
    Division of Food and Nutrition
    Bureau of Food Distribution
    PO Box 334
    Trenton, NJ 08625
    (609) 984-2343

    To locate an emergency pantry, shelter and or soup kitchen in your area, go to: or dial – 211.


    In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

    (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)

    To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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