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The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

Find a food shelf or meal program near you

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) distributes U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) foods to individuals and families who use food shelves, on-site meal programs and shelters. The program provides nutritious, domestically produced food to Minnesotans in need, and provides direct support to the agriculture community.

The Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Opportunity (DHS-OEO) contracts with Minnesota’s regional food banks (Second Harvest Heartland, The Food Group, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Channel One Food Bank, North Country Food Bank, and Great Plains Food Bank) to distribute TEFAP foods to more than 300+ food shelves, Tribal food programs, on-site meal programs and shelters.  TEFAP uses county-level poverty and unemployment data to ensure an equitable distribution of TEFAP foods statewide.

Minnesota TEFAP program structure

TEFAP food shelves and Tribal Nations are also eligible for Minnesota Food Shelf Program (MFSP) funds from DHS-OEO. Funds may be used to pay for food, supplies, personnel, and more to support program operation and administrative costs. Find out more about the Minnesota Food Shelf Program.


Minnesota receives approximately $3.5 million annually to purchase USDA foods for TEFAP food providers. USDA also awards Minnesota approximately $1 million in additional federal TEFAP funding. These funds are granted to the seven regional food banks. Funds which are used to cover costs associated with storage, distribution, and administration of USDA foods and programs.

Pounds of TEFAP and Temporary Emergency Federal Food Support Program Foods in Minnesota from 2017 to 2022.


Food shelf visits

Minnesota food shelf visits from 2017 - 2022. 


Types of food distributed

TEFAP provides an essential source of nutritious food and consists of a variety of canned and dried foods, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products. In Minnesota, food is ordered based on feedback from TEFAP providers, food banks, and direct recipients of USDA products. Minnesota is committed to using TEFAP funds to purchase healthy, fresh and nutritious foods that are priorities for communities, as identified by the Minnesota Food Shelf Survey.

Breakdown of TEFAP food distributed through Minnesota food shelves in 2022.


Hunger Solutions Minnesota produces an annual comprehensive Hunger in Minnesota report that includes this data and more on food shelf visits and pounds of food distributed. 

Read the full 2022 Annual Report from Hunger Solutions

Who's eligible to get food?

Food shelves are available to anyone in Minnesota who self-reports that their household income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty guidelines or participates in one of many public assistance programs. 

Using a food shelf or food program in Minnesota is easy! 

Find a food shelf near you or call the HelpLine at 1-888-711-1151 and visit during open hours. You will be asked to self-report:

  • Your household is eligible according to the income chart below; 
  • Head of household name, address, and 
  • Number of children, adults, and seniors in your household. 
  • NO Identification or verifications required. Other information asked is always optional. 

2023 Income Eligibility Chart (300% of Federal Poverty Guidelines)

Households are eligible if their income is at or below the following:

Family size Yearly income
1 $0 ‐ $43,740
2 $43,741 - $59,160
3 $59,161 - $74,580
4 $74,581 - $90,000
5 $90,001 - $105,420
6 $105,421 - $120,840
7 $120,841 - $136,260
8 $136,261 - $151,680
Add $14,160 of allowable income for each additional family member.

Households are automatically eligible if they participate in any of the following public assistance programs:


Resources for our partners


Minnesota TEFAP Grant Managers
P.O. Box 64951
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55164-0951
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