Electronic Publications from the Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (EFAN-03007) 217 pp

August 2003

The Emergency Food Assistance System-Findings From the Client Survey: Final Report

During a typical month in 2001, food pantries served about 12.5 million people, and emergency kitchens served about 1.1 million people. Food pantries and emergency kitchens play an important role in feeding America's low-income and needy populations. These organizations are part of the Emergency Food Assistance System (EFAS), a network run largely by private organizations with some Federal support. This report presents findings from a national study of EFAS clients, which surveyed clients who received emergency food assistance from selected food pantries and emergency kitchens. The study finds that food pantries and emergency kitchens serve a diverse clientele, but that almost three-fourths of those served are food insecure. The majority of EFAS households receive Federal food assistance, including two-thirds of food pantry clients and 45 percent of emergency kitchen clients. However, a substantial number of EFAS households do not receive food stamps, though they appear to be eligible for them.

Keywords: emergency food, food pantry, soup kitchen, community kitchen, emergency kitchen, food bank, emergency food organization, hunger, food insecurity, food security, food assistance, faith-based organization

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Last updated: Wednesday, August 06, 2003

For more information, contact: Ronette Briefel, Jonathan Jacobson, Nancy Clusen, Teresa Zavitsky, Miki Satake, Brittany Dawson, Rhoda Cohen, and Laura Tiehen