Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP)


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Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP)

Food pantries and food bank distribution centers use funding for operating emergency food programs to feed people who are in need of food. Funding may pay for: administrative costs; operational costs such as rent, salaries, gasoline for vehicles and supplies; purchase of food; nutrition training for staff and clients; equipment purchases and repairs.

Who Can Receive Assistance from EFAP-Supported Food Pantries?

The state sets a minimum requirement that clients simply declare they do not have the resources to feed themselves and their families to receive food from a food pantry. Food pantries may have additional requirements such as the client must live in a certain geographic area or they may only access services so many times a year. However, providers may not discriminate against any class of people and requirements must be in writing.

How Are EFAP Contracts Determined? 

WSDA awards two-year contracts using state general funds at the beginning of the state's fiscal biennium.  As required by the legislature, EFAP funds are awarded to a locally selected "Lead Contractor" in every county, and they are responsible for convening every other food pantry and food bank in their community to democratically determine how funds will be spent toward the local emergency food network for the following 2-year contract period. Every county will work collaboratively to support their chosen lead contractor with the preparation and submission of an application in May of odd years.  Currently, EFAP provides funding to about 330 food pantries and food bank distribution centers.

Eligible organizations apply through the lead contractor in each county to participate as a food pantry or food bank distribution center. The exception is tribes participating in the food pantry program. They may (and all currently do) apply directly to the state as required in the states' Centennial Accord. If you would like to learn more about eligibility, participation requirements or the application process, please visit our Hunger Relief Agency Hub.