Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP)

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Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP)

The goal of the Emergency Food Assistance Program is to alleviate hunger in the state of Washington by providing funds, technical assistance, and information to community programs that deliver emergency food and services to hungry people.

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.

WSDA awards biennial contracts using State general funds every two years for the EFAP food pantry program through "Lead Contractors." Applicants submit applications in May of odd years. Currently EFAP provides funding and services 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. The process begins early spring in odd years. Lead contractors submit an application packet in May for the food pantries and food bank distribution centers in their service areas. All perspective recipients must participate in a meeting with the lead contractor, usually in April, prior to the application being submitted to make crucial decisions about how to use the funding. Tribes contracting directly with the state for food pantry funds are exempt from attending the county-wide meetings. See our EFAP Tribal page for more information.

  • Emergency food programs must have been operating for at least one year as a food pantry or food bank distribution center.

  • Providers must have had their 501(c)(3) status for at least a year, be a public agency or recognized tribe and be registered with the WA Secretary of State Office if a non-profit.

  • Providers must agree to abide by the EFAP Procedures Manual, including but limited to: meet specific match requirements; submit required reports, including monthly financial and data; practice nondiscrimination in providing services; and not require participation in religious ceremonies or charge fees for services.

EFAP Procedures Manual

Find all EFAP policies and procedures for Food Pantry Contractors and Subcontractors.

EFAP Forms

EFAP Food Pantry Application Documents

EFAP Subcontracts

EFAP Invoice Templates

EFAP Closeout Report

Our EFAP Closeout Report is a comprehensive “snapshot” of Washington State’s emergency food system comprised of data reported by emergency food providers participating in EFAP.


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EFAP Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to commonly asked EFAP Food Pantry questions.

Recipes and Nutrition Resources

Want help in supporting your clients in making healtheir food choices?  We've compiled tons of resources for cooking on a budget, including kid-friendly recipes, recipes in Spanish, as well as dietary guidelines from the USDA and additional nutrition guidance for older adults, pregnant women, new mothers and young children. 
For more information on how your organization can distribute EFAP food, contact your county's lead contractor