Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) 101

CSFP 101

The Fair Trade Favorites giveaway has ended. Congrats to Twitter follower @berryman_beth!

Here’s another 101 quicky introduction to one of the American government’s food programs – the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP. If you’re starting to get confused about all these programs and acronyms, never fear. I’ll be doing a roundup once they each have their own post. In the meantime, if you’re wondering about any of the other programs I’ve covered, check out the links!

SNAP (Food Stamps)
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
UN World Food Programme (International)
Meals on Wheels (Non-profit, not government program, although they do distribute on behalf of programs that feed the elderly)
Head Start 101
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR – a future post), and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) are all literal commodity distribution programs – they hand out food stuffs rather than money. TEFAP is available to a wide segment of the population in emergency situations. FDPIR is (obviously) specific to Native American Indian reservations. CSFP is specific to senior citizens, and it provides them with a monthly package of nutritionally-dense foods to improve the quality of their diets.

The USDA buys the food for the CSFP program at wholesale prices and distributes it to seniors 60 and older who are at or below 130% of the federal poverty income guidelines. The program is only available in 46 states, the District of Colombia, and on two Indian reservations. It will cost the U.S Federal government over $211 million in 2015, and provides food to over 573,000 people per month. The program is funded by the federal government (both the food cost and the administration expenses) but is administered by state and local government agencies as well as nonprofit organizations such as Meals on Wheels.

CSFP is an investment in our elderly population, because good nutrition helps seniors stay healthier and remain independent longer. This reduces the burden on Medicare/Medicaid and increases quality of life. Seniors are especially vulnerable to malnutrition because many of them live on a fixed income while grocery prices continue to rise. They don’t have a lot of opportunity to make more money, and physical limitations and apartment living impedes their ability to grow fresh fruits and vegetables.

If you or a loved one are 60 years old or older and might benefit from CSFP,click HERE to find out if your state participates in the program, if you qualify for benefits, and how to apply.

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