Food Assistance & Nutrition Research Program No. (FANRR-26-10) 3 pp

September 2003

Issues in Food Assistance-The Emergency Food Assistance System: Findings from the Client Survey

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 issues brief summarizes findings from a survey of EFAS customers. The survey found that, during a typical month in 2001, food pantries served about 12.5 million people, and emergency kitchens served about 1.1 million people. The majority of EFAS households participate in a Federal food assistance program, 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: Tuesday, September 30, 2003

For more information, contact: Ronette Briefel, Jonathan Jacobson, and Laura Tiehen