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. USDA provides 100% American-grown USDA Foods to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, & Forestry (DACF) to provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, mostly food pantries and soup kitchens, which in turn distribute the food directly serve the public. DACF currently collaborates with over 250 participating organizations to combat food insecurity in Maine.

Participant Eligibility Requirements

You may be able to get food assistance from a local TEFAP organization in your area in two ways:

  1. getting foods from a place like a food pantry to take home, or
  2. eating a meal with a group of people at a place like a soup kitchen.

Whether or not you are eligible to receive TEFAP foods to take home depends on your household income level. In some states, you may be eligible for TEFAP if you already participate in other federal, state, or local food, health, or welfare programs which are based on income.

For meals that local organizations prepare and serve in a group setting, you do not have to meet a certain income level because these organizations have already shown that they serve mostly low-income people.

Find Food Assistance

TEFAP Partners

Contact the DACF TEFAP Office to learn about becoming a TEFAP partner: (207) 287-7513. All staff and volunteers interacting with those seeking food assistance are required to take civil rights training. Short term or one day volunteers can read and sign the Civil Rights Short Training for (Non-intake Volunteers). Any staff or volunteers handling intake must read the Civil Rights PDF and take the Civil Rights Quiz, both linked below.


The following links provide more information about the foods available through TEFAP:

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and The Emergency Food Assistance Program is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Read the USDA Non-Discrimination Statement. For a list of other available languages.