Government shutdown and the impact on The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Second Harvest Heartland distributes millions of pounds of privately donated food to nearly 1,000 agencies and programs including food shelves, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, faith-based organizations, and children's after-school programs serving 41 counties in Minnesota.

What is less known is that Second Harvest Heartland is a partner in the delivery of several federally funded programs, such as the USDA’s Commodity Surplus Food Program (CSFP) and its MAC and NAPS programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).The State of Minnesota serves an intermediary role in the administration of funds for these programs.

While funds for CSFP and SNAP have been deemed “essential” under the shutdown rulings issued by Minnesota’s state courts, the USDA’s TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) has not been designated as essential. In a June 30th, 2011 communication from the Department of Human Service—issued by Hunger Solutions Minnesota— it was stated that Second Harvest Heartland cannot distribute TEFAP on or after July 5th.

Information about TEFAP

  • Emergency food assistance providers in Minnesota (food shelves, brown bag programs, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and domestic abuse shelters) are eligible to receive TEFAP (USDA) commodities.
  • TEFAP provides nearly 20 percent of the food that Second Harvest Heartland distributes to those in need through nearly 280 member agencies in Minnesota
  • TEFAP is distributed daily to those member agencies that are emergency food assistance providers
  • In 2011 Second Harvest Heartland has received an average of 25 truckloads of TEFAP food per month with an average load of 35,000 pounds, all which would normally be distributed to other food banks and agencies across our service area.
  • TEFAP provides staple food items to clients including meat, produce and dairy among other essential food. (View the TEFAP website for more details.)
  • With food shelves and other agencies seeing a double-digit increase in the number of individuals seeking food assistance, TEFAP plays a key role in our continued ability to help those who are food insecure.
  • Today, nearly 950,000 pounds of TEFAP food is in the Second Harvest Heartland warehouse, with distribution halted by the state shutdown.


Food & Fund Drives