Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (FANRR-16-1) 22 pp

June 2002

The Emergency Food Assistance System-Findings From the Provider Survey, Volume I: Executive Summary

Findings of the first comprehensive government study of the Emergency Food Assistance System (EFAS) suggest that public and private food assistance may work in tandem to provide more comprehensive food assistance than either provides by itself. Five major types of organizations (emergency kitchens, food pantries, food banks, food rescue organizations, and emergency food organizations) operate in the EFAS. About 5,300 emergency kitchens provide more than 173 million meals a year, and 32,700 food pantries distribute about 2.9 billion pounds of food a year (roughly 2,200 million meals). Despite substantial amounts of food distributed by the system, the EFAS remains much smaller in scale than the Federal programs. The study, which was sponsored by USDA's Economic Research Service, provides detailed information about the system's operations and about each of the five types of organizations. This report summarizes the results of the study.

Keywords: emergency food, food pantry, soup kitchen, community kitchen, emergency kitchen, food bank, food rescue organization, gleaning, emergency food organization, hunger, food insecurity, TEFAP, USDA commodity program, food assistance, faith-based organization

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