Office of General Services

New York State Office of General Services

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, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost.


Through TEFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases USDA Foods, including processing and packaging, and makes it available to State Distributing Agencies. The amount of food that each State receives out of the total amount of food that is provided is based on the number of unemployed persons and the number of people with incomes below the poverty level in the State. States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn, distribute the food to local organizations such as soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public.

Get Food Assistance 

Contact Your Regional Food Bank

The table below shows the coverage area by county for each of the eight regional food banks in New York State. If you need emergency food assistance, please call the food bank in your county. The food bank will assist you in finding the nearest food pantry.

Regional Food Banks by County
Food Bank Counties Served Phone
Food Bank for New York City Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond (718) 991-4300
Regional Food Bank of Northeastern NY Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Orange, Ostego, Putnam, Rensselaer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington (518) 786-3691
Food Bank of Western NY Cattaraugus, Chatauqua, Erie, Niagara (716) 852-1305
Food Bank of Central NY Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, St. Lawrence (315) 437-1899
FoodLink Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates (585) 328-3380
Long Island Cares Nassau, Suffolk (631) 582-3663
Food Bank of the Southern Tier Broome, Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins (607) 796-6061
Food Bank for Westchester Westchester (914) 923-1100

Am I eligible to receive emergency food assistance?

Following are the income eligibility guidelines for the period July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019. The amounts were obtained by multiplying the 2018 Federal income poverty guidelines by 1.85 or 185%.

Emergency Food Assistance Income Eligibility Guidelines
Household Size Annual Income
1 $22,459
2 $30,451
3 $38,443
4 $46,435
5 $54,427
6 $62,419
7 $70,411
8 $78,403

For each additional family member add $7,992.

The information on these new guidelines will need to be distributed to all TEFAP recipient agencies. RAs may elect to include this information on their intake forms and may also update income posters at distribution sites.

Food banks will need to inform all TEFAP recipient agencies of the annual attestation requirement [Part 251.5(b)]. TEFAP recipients must attest to income eligibility at a minimum of once a year.

Requirements for Food Banks 


Damage Reporting

Physical Inventories of Food Banks

The Office of General Services is mandated to complete a physical review and inventory of all New York State Food Banks at least once a year.

Prior to our arrival please ensure:

  1. You have completed your physical count of the number of cases in inventory;
  2. USDA foods are segregated from commercial as practicable and/or clearly identifiable, viewable, and accessible for counting; and
  3. Book inventory reports are complete and up to date.

Upon our arrival:

  1. Please provide a copy of your current book inventory. (This book inventory/report will contain USDA commodity names, USDA codes, quantity and bin location.)
  2. Please have a member of your staff and necessary equipment available to assist with the count;
  3. Be prepared to compare your inventory numbers against our counts; and
  4. Be prepared to recount any differences (we must agree to the number of cases in stock).
  5. Have a food bank representative available to sign off on the physical count. (Should there be discrepancies, the food bank representative will sign the report and make the necessary notations regarding these discrepancies.)

If Food Distribution staff is unable to conduct the physical inventory due to the points above, the appointment will be terminated and the warehouse will be held liable for the travel expenses of OGS staff.

Also, please have a complete listing of your recipient agencies and contact information available. We will be conducting RA reviews while in the area as time permits.

USDA Policy and New York Food Banks 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program. Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.

Although it is the policy of the USDA and FNS, as so stated above, to provide fair and equitable treatment to every employee and customer, there are specific laws and regulations that provide for the protected bases for each nutritional assistance program. For this reason, sexual orientation, marital or family status, parental status, and protected genetic information are not protected bases in FNS federally assisted programs.

The TEFAP Program and applicable protected bases:

  1. Race
  2. Color
  3. National Origin
  4. Age
  5. Sex
  6. Disability

All food banks in New York will need to read, understand and apply all USDA policies as outlined in FNS-113-1.

Civil Rights Training Slideshow

USDA Policy and Instructions Links

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