GOVERNMENT NUTRITION PROGRAMS
AND PUBLIC POLICY
For 40 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided access to healthy food for children and adults in need. The programs providing this access include, among others:*
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- School Breakfast Program (SBP)
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps
- Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), or “Summer Meals”
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), or TexCap in Texas
The rate of participation or lack of participation in these programs by people in need of food aid affects Tarrant Area Food Bank and its network of partner charities. The Food Bank is directly engaged with TEFAP/TexCap, SNAP and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), or
Texas Commodity Assistance Program (TexCap)
The USDA buys surplus food and ships it to the States. The amount received by each State depends on its low-income and unemployed population.
In Texas, the Department of Agriculture contracts with the Texas Food Bank Network and its member food banks, including Tarrant Area Food Bank, to distribute USDA commodities under the Texas Commodity Assistance Program (TexCap).
When federal funding and surplus food are available for TEFAP/TexCap, Tarrant Area Food Bank receives 20 percent or more of its food through this program.
Eligible recipients of TexCap/TEFAP food can have incomes up to 185 percent of poverty as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, the gross income cap for a one-person household was $20,147 per year, or $1,679 gross per month or $388 gross per week. For a family of four, the gross income limits were $41,348 per year, or $3,446 gross per month or $796 gross per week.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides more food assistance than any other program in the nation. Without this program, regional food banks and their partner food pantries, soup kitchens and meal programs would be overwhelmed, and children and adults would go hungry.
Tarrant Area Food Bank has SNAP Outreach staff who inform people about the program and help them apply for it. Volunteers interested in helping with
SNAP outreach are invited to contact the Food Stamp/SNAP office at 817-332-9177, ext. 143.
Eligibility criteria for SNAP include a cap on gross monthly income of 130 percent of poverty and a cap on net monthly income of 100 percent of poverty.
General income guidelines through September 2012 show a household of one being eligible up to $1,180 of gross monthly income and $908 of net monthly income. A family of four is eligible up to $2,422 of gross monthly income and $1,863 of net monthly income. Complete Poverty Guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are at aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/.
Information about eligibility and how to apply includes Income Guidelines and details provided by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture at http://www.fns.usda.gov/SNAP/faqs.htm.
Benefit programs such as SNAP have kept millions from falling into poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau Supplemental Poverty Measure