The purpose of the Maryland Emergency Food Program is to provide funding to assist emergency food providers (or emergency feeding organizations) in purchasing food for needy individuals and families in Maryland and to encourage self-sufficiency. MEFP grants funds to organizations that provide meals at no cost directly to individuals or households in need. These funds are utilized to purchase food items by organizations such as food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, food banks and residential treatment programs.
TEFAP is a federally funded program that distributes food commodities and federal funds to each state. DHS is the TEFAP Administering Agency in Maryland and contracts with the Maryland Food Bank and Capital Area Food Bank to receive and store food from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA.) MEFP grants funds directly to emergency food providing organizations such as food pantries and soup kitchens in all 24 jurisdictions in Maryland.
MEFP does not directly provide food or access to food for individuals and families. Individuals or families in need of emergency food should visit Families in Need
New MEFP vendors receive a maximum of a $2000 annual grant for the first year. Allocation of grants are based upon available funding and indicators of need such as current population size, the percentage of unemployment, and the number of individuals and families living in poverty. Please see our MEFP Guidelines for additional information.