Domestic Food Assistance: Summary of Programs

Source: Randy Alison Aussenberg, Kirsten J. Colello, Congressional Research Service, CRS Report, R42353, February 17, 2016

Over the years, Congress has authorized and the federal government has administered programs to provide food to the hungry and to other vulnerable populations in this country. This report offers a brief overview of hunger and food insecurity along with the related network of programs. The report is structured around three main tables that contain information about each program, including its authorizing language, administering agency, eligibility, services provided, participation data, and funding information. In between the tables, contextual information about this policy area and program administration is provided that may assist Congress in tracking developments in domestic food assistance. This report provides a bird’s – eye view of domestic food assistance and can be use d both to learn about the details of individual programs as well as compare and contrast features across programs.

This report includes overview information for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (USDA – FNS) programs as well as nutrition programs administered by the Administration on Aging (AOA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Huma n Services’ Administration for Community Living (HHS – ACL). USDA – FNS programs include nutrition programs most recently reauthorized by the 2014 farm bill (the Agricultural Act of 2014; P.L. 113 – 79 ). Programs included in the farm bill are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. USDA – FNS also administers programs not contained in the farm bill: the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Child Nutrition programs (School Breakfast Program, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), Special Milk Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)). HHS – ACL programs are the nutrition programs contained in the Older Americans Act (OAA) — Congregate Nutrition Program; Home Delivered Nutrition Program; Grants to Native Americans: Supportive and Nutrition Services; and the Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP).