Short-Term Hunger Relief

Households in need of emergency food can receive support through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). This program that provides specific grocery products to eligible families in need of short-term hunger relief. Food may be distributed through local providers such as emergency food pantries, food banks, soup kitchens and shelters.

TEFAP is intended to supplement the diets of families with low-incomes, including older adults, and assistance is provided at no cost.

The United States Department of Agriculture purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality commodities and provides them to distributing centers. In Connecticut, the Department of Social Services contracts with Connecticut Food Bank, Inc. and Foodshare, Inc. to distribute goods to eligible recipients through a network of local food pantries.

Eligibility Criteria

Recipients must meet the income-based requirement to receive TEFAP-approved groceries. Income is set at 235% of the current Federal Poverty Level.

At a food pantry, eligible households must complete a self-declaration of need form once per year to receive TEFAP products. This form can be downloaded online or completed at a participating location. Individuals who do not complete the form may still receive any non-TEFAP commodities available at the pantry.

In a soup kitchen or shelter, recipients of meals do not need to sign the TEFAP form.

Types of Services & Supports that can be used for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

TEFAP provides grocery items provided by the US Department of Agriculture like:

  • Canned or fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Meats and fish
  • Eggs and dairy
  • Cereals, rice and pasta

Participating locations may hold different products and may not always carry the same items.


Participating food pantries will provide a TEFAP self-declaration form to eligible households. This form must be completed and signed once per year.

For more information or to contact someone for assistance, visit the Nutrition Assistance Programs page.

Visit 2-1-1 to find a food pantry. Enter your ZIP Code or navigate through the pages to find a local food pantry.

Download the TEFAP w-1700 Form