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). DACF then provides the food to pantries and soup kitchens across the state, which in turn distribute the food directly to those seeking food assistance. 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:

  • Getting food from a place like a food pantry to take home, or
  • Eating a meal with a group of people at a place like a soup kitchen.

For meals prepared in a group setting, patrons will not be asked about income.

At food pantries and food banks, neighbors must self-attest to their eligibility criteria. This can be done by verbally stating your income is below a threshold, or by participating in other means-tested government programs. Please see 2024-2025 TEFAP Financial Guidelines (DOCX) for details on Maine’s TEFAP eligibility criteria.

Find Food Assistance

TEFAP Partners

Contact the DACF TEFAP Office to learn about becoming a TEFAP partner: (207) 287-7513. Read our FAQs to learn if becoming a TEFAP Recipient Agency is the right fit for your feeding organization.

Partner FAQs

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 Non-Intake Personnel Civil Rights Training. 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:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. Read the USDA Non-Discrimination Statement or see a list of available languages.

This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.