Government nutrition assistance programs exist to help people access the nutritious food they need to feed themselves or their families. We administer two government programs to deliver food to over 50 participating agencies. Less than 30% of our food inventory is funded by government programs and available to individuals who qualify. Regardless of qualification to receive government food assistance, donated food is available through local participating food cupboards upon completion of their self-declaration of need form. All government food programs are equal opportunity.
Pennsylvania’s Nutrition Assistance Programs
State Food Purchase Program (SFPP)
Pennsylvania is one of a small number of states in the nation to provide state revenues for an emergency assistance food program for its low-income citizens. The State Food Purchase Program (SFPP) provides cash grants allocated to the County Commissioners who then disperse monies to lead agencies in their county. Hunger relief organizations like the Chester County Food Bank, use the SFPP grant dollars to purchase nutritious food at wholesale, competitively bid prices, or better. Food is then allocated and delivered to our agency partners for distribution to individuals and families that qualify.
Residents of households receiving any of the following are eligible to receive SFPP after completing a Self-Declaration of Need form at their local participating food cupboard:
- Unemployment compensation
- SNAP (food stamp) benefits
- Cash assistance
- Medical assistance
- Household income is at or below 150% of the U.S. poverty level. (same as TEFAP listed below)
- Those experiencing a crisis situation, such as fire, are also eligible.
Pennsyvlania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS)
The Pennsylvania Agricultural Surplus System (PASS) is a win-win-win for farmers, Pennsylvanians experiencing food insecurity, and food banks. PASS provides funding to agricultural producers in Pennsylvania to reimburse costs associated with harvesting, processing, packaging, and transporting goods that would otherwise go to waste. The goods are provided to Pennsylvania food banks and distributed to qualifying recipients in all 67 counties of the Commonwealth.
Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a federal program, designed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost.
USDA makes commodity foods available to States for distribution to low-income people through emergency food providers like the Chester County Food Bank. USDA also provides States with some funding to assist food banks with the storage and distribution costs for TEFAP commodities. The amount of food and funds a State receives is based on a formula which takes into account state poverty and unemployment rates. We receive retail-size frozen and dry food products through TEFAP for allocation and delivery to our agency partners for distribution to individuals and families that qualify.
Eligibility for TEFAP depends on household income and family size and completion of a Self-Declaration of Need form at your local participating food cupboard:
Total Household Size & Monthly Income
Household of 1 $1,471
Household of 2 $1,991
Household of 3 $2,511
Household of 4 $3,031
Household of 5 $3,551
Household of 6 $4,071
Household of 7 $4,591
Household of 8 $5,111
For each additional family member over eight add $520