The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry implements two separate federal food programs. Both are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), with additional financial support from the DACF.
Maine DACF partners with the USDA to offer The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). This program provides American-grown and processed foods to food pantries, soup kitchens, and other food distribution sites. We do not distribute food directly to consumers, but partner with food banks, food pantries, nonprofits, and others to distribute the food all over the state. TEFAP provides the critical grocery staples, such as canned vegetables, flowers, frozen meats, soups, cereal, and flour, that make up the bulk of what many Maine pantries offer.
To learn more about the program, go to the DACF’s TEFAP website.
TEFAP in Action
Maine SNAP-Ed, a federally funded nutrition education program, provides services in settings like schools, food pantries, Head Starts, and other child care settings, grocery stores, and regional health department offices. The Maine SNAP-Ed program is made up of over 35 Nutrition Educators and Program Coordinators located statewide. Maine SNAP-Ed has been an ally in providing nutrition education to help consumers cook with and enjoy TEFAP foods.
Grant Owens (on the forklift) and Jason Hall are the team behind TEFAP. They work with the USDA, with local pantries, and with a team of volunteers to distribute USDA foods equitably around the State of Maine. Partners like the Good Shepherd Food Bank, Wayside Food Programs, and Catholic Charities of Maine ensure that the shelf-stable and fresh foods are available to qualified food pantries in every region.
Primarily TEFAP relies on trucks, both the program’s own and those of partners, to distribute food. However, remote islands are more challenging. During the coronavirus pandemic, we even sent a load of 750 pounds of canned goods to an island via plane. The Maine Forest Service also made deliveries using their flatbed and forest trucks. Ensuring all of rural Maine has sufficient emergency food is a team effort!
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a USDA program that provides a box of grocery staples to eligible senior citizens each month. Like TEFAP (above) this program is offered by the Maine DACF in partnership with the USDA. Our staff work with various partners to pack and deliver the boxes. More than 8000 Maine seniors participate each month. For more information and eligibility, visit the DACF’s CSFP webpage.