Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) with a $2.5 million grant to improve The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) through investment in food distribution infrastructure and underserved areas. TEFAP is a federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with nutritious, domestically sourced food assistance at no cost. The Reach and Resiliency grant, provided through funding in the American Rescue Plan, was awarded to find creative solutions in addressing gaps in TEFAP coverage and distribution.
“Every Floridian should have access to nutritious food, and TEFAP is a critical program in our fight against food insecurity – especially in rural communities,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “I thank our federal partners at the USDA for this additional funding that will allow us to bolster our current food banks and create new in-state partnerships to assist families in this trying time.”
Background: FDACS will use Reach and Resiliency grant funds to implement two separate sub-grant programs for local agencies within the state. The first opportunity will support current TEFAP food banks focusing on meeting the existing infrastructure needs of these organizations and on improving their capacity to procure, receive, store, distribute, track, and deliver time-sensitive or perishable food products. The second sub-grant opportunity will be allocated through a competitive process to any organization in the state interested in implementing, improving, or expanding their food distribution program in a remote, rural, tribal, and/or low-income area.
About the Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness: The FDACS Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness conducts, supervises and administers child nutrition and commodity food distribution programs that are carried out using state or federal funds. The division administers TEFAP foods and funds to participating organizations and certify USDA foods are reaching Florida’s low-income families. Additionally, the division provides outreach, guidance, and technical support to participating food banks, food pantries, and other feeding sites. FDACS mission is to help Floridians have access to healthy, nutritious food, increase awareness and consumption of Florida’s agricultural commodities; reduce food insecurity among Florida’s most vulnerable populations, and encourage healthy lifestyle among Florida residents.