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Glossary of Food Poverty Terms


Below is a list of terms that are central to the fight against food poverty, including names of some of the programs and agencies involved in that work.

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP): A USDA-sponsored nutrition education and meal reimbursement program that helps day care providers serve nutritious meals and snacks to children and adults.

Citymeals-on-Wheels: A nonprofit that provides funding to community-based agencies that bring weekend, holiday, emergency and weekday meals to homebound senior citizens who can no longer shop or cook for themselves.

Commodity Foods: Foods that the federal government purchases and distributes in order to support farm prices. The government distributes commodity foods nationwide to hunger-relief organizations to help support low-income Americans.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): A community of individuals who pledge support to a farm so that they receive shares in the farm’s produce throughout the growing season. Food Bank For New York City’s CSA Program connects low-income residents of Harlem with New York State farmers to access healthy, fresh and affordable food.

Community Garden: A community garden transforms empty lots into green spaces. Community gardens are collaborative projects created by members of the community; residents share in both the maintenance and rewards of the garden.

Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): A federal refundable tax credit for low- to moderate-income working persons and families. Food Bank For New York City’s Tax Assistance Program completed more than 40,000 tax returns for low-income New Yorkers last year, helping to bring more than $60 million in tax refunds and credits back into the city.

Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP): A New York City–sponsored program that funds food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the city. EFAP also provides administrative funding to build capacity at emergency food programs (EFPs), and administers technical assistance grants for the automation of food stamp (SNAP) enrollment at soup kitchens, food pantries and other locations. EFAP is a key source of emergency food for New York City.

Emergency Food Program (EFP): A soup kitchen, food pantry, or shelter that distributes food provided by food banks and other sources for people seeking emergency food assistance who would otherwise not get enough to eat or not eat well. Food Bank supports a network of approximately 1,000 community-based member programs.

Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP): Funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), EFSP supports organizations that operate shelters, food pantries and soup kitchens throughout New York City. EFSP funding subsidizes meals, groceries, lodging at shelters and other programs, one month’s rent or mortgage payment, one month’s utility bill, repairs for program facilities and equipment necessary to feed and shelter individuals.

Farmer’s Market: A public market where farmers and other vendors gather to sell various fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and other foods directly to consumers.

Feeding America: The national hunger-relief nonprofit that organizes more than 200 food banks and food rescue organizations. Food Bank For New York City is a participating member.

Food and Nutrition Service (FNS): The USDA agency responsible for administering the nation’s domestic nutrition assistance programs.

Food Bank: A nonprofit organization that distributes and/or stores food and related products that it solicits, collects and purchases from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and government agencies to community and emergency food programs.

Food Pantry: An emergency food program that distributes food to individuals and families. Food pantries typically provide three- to five-day grocery packages for the preparation of nutritionally balanced meals, and are a key source of emergency food for the working poor and for people whose food stamp benefits run out before month’s end.

Food Poverty: Food poverty is the lack of access to food due to factors including low income and benefits, lack of access to grocery stores or transportation, and lack of availability of healthy, affordable foods within local stores and bodegas. Families living in food poverty are likely to include members suffering from health conditions related to poor nutrition such as diabetes and heart disease.

Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP): HPNAP is a state-sponsored grant that provides emergency food programs with lines of credit at regional food banks and other organizations, including Food Bank For New York City and the United Way. HPNAP also awards grants for operations and equipment expenditures. This program is administered by the New York State Department of Health.

National School Lunch Program (NSLP): Provides cash and commodities to public and private elementary and secondary schools as a form of reimbursement for lunches. Students living at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty line receive free lunch, while those students living between 130 and 185 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible for reduced-price meals.

New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA): Serves a diverse group of New Yorkers through the administration of a broad range of social welfare programs and services, providing temporary help to individuals and families with social service and economic needs. HRA ensures individuals are provided food, shelter, temporary financial assistance, medical care, counseling and other essential services. HRA oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and funds the city’s Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP).

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA): The New York State agency that oversees a range of programs for low-income residents, with a focus on employment wherever possible.

School Breakfast Program (SBP): A federally sponsored program that provides reimbursements for breakfast in public and private elementary and secondary schools. In New York City all students are eligible for a free school breakfast regardless of household income.

School Meals Programs: See National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. As part of its "Eat to Learn" Initiative, Food Bank convenes the NYC School Meals Coalition to work on school meal issues in New York City.

Soup Kitchen: An emergency food program that serves prepared, nutritious meals to hungry individuals and families. Many soup kitchens also offer meals to the homebound.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC): WIC is a federally sponsored program that supplies low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women and children five years of age and younger with vouchers for food, nutrition counseling, health screenings and referrals for health and other services.

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP): SFSP is an entitlement program that provides funding for centers that provide free breakfasts and lunches to children 18 or younger during the summer months. Also commonly known as Summer Meals.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP, formerly known as the federal Food Stamp Program, provides monthly benefits to eligible low-income families and individuals for the purchase of nutritious food. Food Bank For New York City facilitates food stamp access for over 44,000 New Yorkers in all five boroughs.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — Education (SNAP-Ed): A federal/state partnership that supports nutrition education for people eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Food Bank For New York City’s CookShop, a nutrition education program for low-income New Yorkers in all five boroughs, is a federally funded SNAP-Ed project.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): TEFAP distributes surplus commodity food to low-income families and individuals through emergency food programs. TEFAP entitlement and bonus commodities and grants for administrative and storage costs are provided by the federal government to the states, which administer the program through food banks and other hunger-relief organizations. TEFAP is the single biggets source of food distributed by Food Bank.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA): The federal agency responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture and food. It aims to end hunger in the United States and abroad, and administers many programs — such as SNAP, TEFAP, WIC and school meals programs — to help reach that end.

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