Food Assistance Within Reach: How to Find TEFAP Applications

With everything costing more these days, it’s becoming a challenge for many Americans to make ends meet. The cost of living is rising, and it’s challenging for individuals and families to pay for housing costs, medicine, and groceries. This financial strain can make it tough to ensure there’s always enough food on the table.

If you’re looking for help to access nutritious food, you should know that help is available. Several government programs can help you access healthy food for your household.

One such program is TEFAP, the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which offers free food to those in need.

What Is the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)?

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost. Through TEFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) buys nutritious, high-quality food, including a variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains, and distributes it to states. The states then provide this food to local agencies like food banks, pantries, and shelters that directly serve the public.

TEFAP is especially important for families, seniors, and individuals who find themselves in difficult times. The program provides a variety of food that can help them maintain a balanced diet without compromising other necessities like rent or utilities.

Eligibility for TEFAP varies by state but generally focuses on individuals and families with incomes below a certain threshold, typically at or below 185% of the federal poverty line. However, the specific criteria can differ, so it’s a good idea to check with your local food distribution agency for the exact requirements.

TEFAP Application – Where to Download Forms

TEFAP is run at the state level, which means how it works can be different depending on where you live. Each state has its own set of rules for who can get help and how you go about getting it. If you’re thinking about applying for TEFAP or just want to learn more, your first step is to find out the specific details for your state.

TEFAP State Directory

You can do this by visiting the official TEFAP state directory at

To get started, click on your state and find your local TEFAP office to learn more about the program and how to apply. Staff can also help you locate a food bank or soup kitchen near you that distributes TEFAP food.

To apply for TEFAP benefits, contact your state’s distributing agency or local food pantries and soup kitchens participating in the program. These resources offer a critical lifeline, ensuring access to nutritious food and supporting the health and well-being of millions of Americans.

Do You Need to Download a TEFAP Application Form?

When it comes to TEFAP, you don’t always need to download the application form. It depends on where you get your TEFAP food.

🥣 If You Eat at a Soup Kitchen → No Application Needed

🥫 If You Visit a Food Pantry → Application IS Needed

⚠️ Keep in mind, our articles are guides, not gospel. We are not the government, so for the most accurate benefit details, make sure to check with official government channels, including your local benefit administration office.

TEFAP works in two main ways to help people. If you go to a soup kitchen for a meal, you don’t need to fill out any forms to eat there. Soup kitchens provide immediate meals to anyone in need, and no application is necessary.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to get groceries from a food bank to take home, you’ll need to apply. Food banks require you to fill out a form to make sure you meet the program’s guidelines. This is to make sure that help goes to those who need it most, based on income and other criteria set by your state.

What is TEFAP Self Declaration?

Applying for TEFAP is unique compared to most benefit programs because it often uses a method called Self Declaration. This means that you are taken at your word and typically don’t need to provide paycheck stubs or proof of income to establish eligibility. This approach makes the process faster and less complicated, allowing you to get the help you need without the hassle of gathering and submitting numerous documents.

TEFAP support is meant to be temporary. The program is designed to supplement your diet, not be the sole source of food for your household. The goal is to provide emergency food assistance to anyone who needs it, without a lengthy review process to determine eligibility.

That’s why TEFAP uses the Self Declaration method. If you say you’re hungry and in need, people will believe you and try to help – whether that’s a hot meal at a soup kitchen or a bag of groceries you can take home and put in your fridge.

Where to Download Your TEFAP Application Form

The specific TEFAP application form that you’ll need depends on where you live. You can view the full directory of TEFAP locations here:

Let’s take a look at a few states where TEFAP benefits are used frequently. Each state has its own form(s) for collecting food assistance.

⭐ California

Form EFA 7: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Certification of Eligibility

⭐ Florida

Form 7 CFR 251: Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Certification of Eligibility to Take Food Home

⭐ Georgia

Golden Harvest Food Bank: TEFAP Household Eligibility Criteria Form

⭐ Illinois

Form IL444-4511: The Emergency Food Assistance Program – Signature Sheet

⭐ Michigan

Form-823: TEFAP Household Information Collection Form

⭐ New York

Self-Attestation Form: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Eligibility

⭐ North Carolina

Form (004): TEFAP Proxy Authorization

⭐ Ohio

JFS-04221: Federal and State Funded Food Programs Eligibility to Take Food Home

⭐ Pennsylvania

PA Bureau of Food Assistance: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

“Self Declaration of Need”

⭐ Texas

Form H1555: Household Application for USDA Food: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

⭐ Wisconsin

Form F-40059: The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Application

F-40059A: TEFAP Eligibility Certification (Mobile Pantries)

🔍 A Closer Look at Wisconsin TEFAP Application Forms

The state of Wisconsin has two TEFAP forms. One form is for the state’s mobile food pantries, and the other form is for the main program.

When you fill out the application, staff will check if you are eligible for any additional services besides TEFAP. You may discover that you qualify for food stamps, energy assistance, and even a lower internet bill, so it’s worth filling out the form carefully and providing complete information.

Form F-40059 – The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Application

When applying for TEFAP, you’ll need to provide some basic but important information about yourself and your household. This includes your last name, first name, and middle initial, along with your contact details, such as an email and phone number.

You also need to mention the pantry name you’re applying to. Your home address, including street, city, and zip code, is required. If someone else will be picking up food for you, their name(s) must be listed as your proxy. The form asks you to certify your income eligibility, which confirms that your household income does not exceed the program’s limits.

You may be asked to provide proof of your address and list the names and ages of all household members. Your signature is necessary and states that you have provided honest and accurate information.

Food Pantry Records

When you get help from a food pantry through TEFAP, you’re also required to keep track of each visit. This is because most programs have a rule that you can only visit a food pantry once a month.

This system helps ensure that as many people as possible can get the assistance they need. So, every time you go, you’ll need to record your visit, which helps the pantry manage its resources to better support the community.

Mobile Food Pantry Form

Wisconsin offers some mobile food pantries that can move throughout a city or county. For these mobile food pantries, they want you to use a different form. If your city offers a mobile food pantry, the application requirements may be similar. This form is shorter and takes less time to fill out. They want you to be able to quickly access food from these mobile food pantries.

When you get help from a food pantry through TEFAP, you’re also required to keep track of each visit. This is because most programs have a rule that you can only visit a food pantry once a month.

Form F-40059 combines English and Spanish into the same form. Instead of asking about your income, you are only required to provide information about your household and where you live.

Ready to Apply for TEFAP?

Paying bills and managing daily expenses can be a challenge, but thankfully, programs like TEFAP are here to help ease the burden by providing access to nutritious food. This support can make a significant difference in maintaining a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing other essentials.

If you’re facing difficulties and need food assistance, look into the TEFAP program for your state and fill out the application. When you’re finding it hard to afford all your needs, TEFAP can be a big help. It’s worth taking a little time to look into TEFAP in your state. Whether you eat a meal at a soup kitchen or visit a food bank, TEFAP can help make sure you always have nutritional food to eat.