Food Donation

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

US Federal Government Agency (see all agencies)
Department of Agriculture , Food and Nutrition Service
CFDA #: 10.550

Purpose of this program:

To improve the diets of school and preschool children; the elderly; needy persons in charitable institutions; other individuals in need of food assistance; and, to increase the market for domestically produced foods acquired under surplus removal or price support operations.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

USDA makes food available to State agencies for distribution to qualifying outlets, such as emergency feeding organizations, soup kitchens and food banks, schools, child and adult day care, charitable institutions, nutrition programs for the elderly, nonprofit summer camps and Summer Food Service for children. Individuals may not be charged. Donated foods may not be sold, exchanged, or otherwise disposed of (authorized distribution excepted) without prior, specific approval of the Department.

Who is eligible to apply...

Such State, Territorial and Federal agencies that are designated as distributing agencies by the Governor, legislature, or other authority may receive and distribute donated foods. School and other child feeding programs are eligible but must meet requirements concerning facilities, meal content, meal charges, etc. Charitable institutions are eligible to the extent they serve needy persons. Emergency feeding operations under Public Law 98-8 and amendments must provide food to needy persons including unemployed persons. All must apply to their responsible State distributing agency. Elderly nutrition programs that are funded under Title III of the Older Americans Act of 1965 must apply to their State Agency on Aging for commodities; elderly nutrition programs for Indians on reservations that are funded under Title VI of the Older Americans Act must apply to FNS Regional Offices for such assistance.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:

Individual households are individually certified by local agencies based on the State eligibility standards for TEFAP.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

All States now have distributing agencies; no applications necessary. Local governments, schools, other child nutrition organizations, nonprofit summer camps for children, charitable institutions, and nutrition programs for the elderly must apply to State distributing agencies on their forms. Under TEFAP, a household eligibility and distribution plan must be approved for each State; heads of households apply to receive commodities for home consumption to local welfare authorities on forms supplied by State or local office. Persons receiving commodities in the form of meals from sites which serve prepared meals are presumed to be eligible.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Not applicable.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...



Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not applicable.

Preapplication Coordination

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. This program is subject to the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-102.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.



Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).


Program continues once approved unless withdrawal is requested or required because of program irregularities, persons receiving commodities for home consumption are recertified periodically.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

Households in areas which participate in the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) authorized under Public Law 98-8 must meet eligibility requirements established by the State. All children in schools, child care institutions, and summer camps which participate in the program may benefit from food donations. Foods donated to charitable institutions (on the basis of needy persons served) and to nutrition programs for the elderly, may be used for the benefit of all served.

About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Sale, Exchange, or Donation of Property and Goods

Programs which provide for the sale, exchange, or donation of Federal real property, personal property, commodities, and other goods including land, buildings, equipment, food and drugs. This does not include the loan of, use of, or access to Federal facilities or property.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.


(Donations) FY 03 $237,620,000; FY 04 $166,575,000; and FY 05 $186,876,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

12-4336-0-3-351; 12-5209-0-2-605.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Not applicable.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

USDA has worked in conjunction with Indian Tribal Organizations and agencies to improve the food packages offered to recipients of the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. USDA is supporting the School Meals Initiative by improving schools access to high quality, fresh fruits and vegetables that will appeal to kids. USDA has teamed up with the Department of Defense Personnel Support Center to offer over 60 varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables to States. USDA has numerous initiatives that are underway to streamline commodity distribution programs, make them more efficient, and enhance customer service to its partners and stakeholders such as schools, Indian Tribal Organizations, State and local agencies, and agricultural producers. Efforts are underway to develop new information technology systems to replace outdated and antiquated systems within USDA and among States, schools, and USDA. Product specifications are being updated. USDA is planning to allow vendors the option to use commercial labels for most commodity products. USDA is testing the use of National umbrella contracts with industry to simplify the processing of commodities. The commodity hold and recall system has been re-engineered to reduce the time needed to resolve recipient and State agency complaints. USDA is also working to pilot-test several other food distribution program improvements within the next few years.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

Not applicable.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Food donations continuous.

Formula and Matching Requirements

Foods are donated on the basis of availability and need. Under TEFAP, foods are allocated to each State on the basis of a formula combining the number of persons in the State living below the poverty level (60 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (40 percent).

A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...


Semiannual inventory reports of commodities.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.


In accordance with the provision of OMB Circular No. A- 133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-profit Organizations," State and local governments, and non-profit organizations that expend Federal financial assistance of $300,000 or more within any fiscal year shall have either a single audit or (in certain cases) a program specific audit made for that year. Audits may be conducted less frequently under conditions specified in A-133.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).


Adequate to account for all receipts and dispositions; to be retained for 3 years following the close of the fiscal year.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.



National School Lunch Act, as amended; Agricultural Act of 1949, as amended; Mutual Security Act of 1954, as amended; Agricultural Act of 1956; Act of September 6, 1958, as amended; Act of September 13, 1960, as amended; Food and Agriculture Act of 1965, as amended; Child Nutrition Act of 1966, as amended; Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended; Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973, as amended; Public Law 74-320, as amended, Public Law 75-165; Public Law 93-288; Public Law 95-166, 91 Stat. 1334 and 1336; Public Law 95-627; Public Law 96-494; Public Law 97-98; Public Law 98-8, as amended; Public Law 100-237, 101 Stat. 1733; Public Law 100-435, 102 Stat. 1645; Public Law 101-147, 103 Stat. 877; Public Law 101-624, 104 Stat. 3359; Public Law 103-448, 108 Stat. 4699; 7 U.S.C. 612c, 612c note; 7 U.S.C. 1431, 1446a-1, 1859; 15 U.S.C. 713c; 22 U.S.C. 1922; 42 U.S.C. 1755, 1758, 1760, 1761, 1762a, 1766, 1777, 3030a, 3057c, 5179-5180; 49 U.S.C. 1751.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

7 CFR 240, 250; 251, 253,254.

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

See Food and Nutrition Service Regional Offices listed in Additional Contact Information - FMR Help.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Food Distribution Division, Food and Nutrition Service, Department of Agriculture, Alexandria, VA 22302. Telephone: (703) 305-2680. Contact: Les Johnson, Director.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: