Agency Resources : Agency FAQ

Creating a partnership with our member agencies is a crucial component of The Greater Boston Food Bank's success. To help you get the information you need, here are some answers to frequently asked questions.

What is Feeding America?

Feeding America is a network of food banks across the United States. The Greater Boston Food Bank is an Feeding America affiliate and follows the rules and regulations set forth by Feeding America.

What types of agencies are eligible to become members of GBFB?

The Greater Boston Food Bank partners with agencies that are classified as either Emergency Food Providers (EFP’s) or Non-Emergency Food providers. Guidelines for these classifications are below.

What are Emergency Food Providers?

Emergency Food Providers (EFPs) are public charitable organizations with IRS tax exempt status (501c3) and have established ongoing food assistance programs that distribute at least monthly either bags/boxes of groceries and/or prepared meals on-site to their clients. EFPs also provide food assistance on an emergency basis to anyone in need. There are three classifications of Emergency Food Providers (EFPs).

What are food pantries?

  • Provide groceries, at least monthly, to those in need of one-time emergency or occasional food assistance for home preparation and consumption.
  • Do not charge a fee or require service from participants in exchange for food.
  • Participants must have self-declared need or other verification of need such as DTA card, Medicaid card, etc.
  • Conduct public outreach such as being registered with a food resource referral service (Project Bread Food Source Hot Line) or listed in a social service directory.

What are soup kitchens?

  • Prepare and serve on site meals regularly to those in need.
  • Do not charge a fee or require service from participants in exchange for food.
  • Conduct public outreach such as being registered with a food resource referral service (Project Bread Food Source Hot Line) or listed in a social service directory.

What are emergency shelters?

  • Regularly provide shelter where those who are homeless are temporarily housed.
  • Length of residency is no more than 6 months and clients would otherwise be homeless.
  • Does not charge a fee to participants in exchange for food.
  • Conduct public outreach such as being registered with a food resource referral service (Project Bread Food Source Hot Line) or listed in a social service directory.

What are Non-Emergency Food Providers?

Non-Emergency Food Providers are programs that serve snacks and beverages to low income clients participating in their programming. There are four classifications of Non-Emergency Food Providers (Non-EFPs).

  • Non-Emergency After School Youth program
  • Non-Emergency Day Care Program
  • Non-Emergency Adult Day Care Program
  • Non-Emergency Long Term Residential Program

How much does GBFB charge for food and non-food items?

Eligible and qualifying agencies (EFP's) will be able to receive MEFAP and/or USDA foods at no cost. All agencies are eligible to receive Donated Food at a shared maintenance fee of $0.19 per pound. This is an assessed handling cost that helps pay for transportation and storage. For some products the SMF may be reduced or eliminated. In addition we offer Co-op items that are purchased for the agencies by The Food Bank and sold to agencies. Co-op food purchases are offered to agencies at The Food Bank's cost. Co-op non-food purchases are offered at The Food Bank’s cost plus a 6% handling fee.

What is USDA/TEFAP? How do I get it? Am I eligible?

  • The term “USDA” refers to the type of foods available through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). TEFAP is a federal food distribution program sponsored by The United States Department of Agriculture. USDA-donated foods are distributed at no cost to approved distribution sites via various food banks.
  • In 2000, The Greater Boston Food Bank, Inc. contracted with the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) to assume the monitoring and application process on USDA commodities. eastern Massachusetts agencies that want to distribute USDA food through TEFAP must be members of The Greater Boston Food Bank. There is no formal application process to begin receiving USDA food.
  • The Greater Boston Food Bank is a distributing authority for TEFAP under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts DOE. The Food Bank qualifies member agencies as USDA-eligible and assigns a USDA contract number to that agency. This number facilitates identification as a USDA-eligible agency and enables the agency to receive USDA product.
  • A member agency is considered USDA-eligible if it falls under the above definition of an EFP. For more information, please see our information about qualification and updated eligibility guidelines, or contact Erika DelCioppo at 617-598-5074.

What is MEFAP food? How do I get it? Am I eligible?

  • The term "MEFAP" refers to the type of foods available through the Massachusetts Emergency Food Assistance Program (MEFAP). MEFAP is a state-funded program administered by The Greater Boston Food Bank. The Food Bank uses the funds to purchase foods that are distributed on an "agency choice" basis to all eligible emergency food providers and to sponsor nutrition education initiatives. The MEFAP program is a supplementary food assistance program in nature and is not intended to cover all the needs of an agency.
  • The goal of MEFAP is to provide food assistance and nutrition education to citizens in need in the Commonwealth. This provides a consistent supply of quality, nutrient-dense foods and nutrition education to the statewide network of emergency food providers: pantries, soup kitchens, transitional houses and shelters.
  • Please see our MEFAP Eligibility Information for additional details.

Do I have to come into Boston to pick up my food?

No, agencies may take part in our satellite distribution (or Drop) program. Drop sites are listed below. Please call Agency Relations at 617-598-5000 for more information.

What are the hours of The Greater Boston Food Bank?

Business Days: Shipping Hours- Monday 9:00am to 3:40pm, Tuesday through Friday 8:20am to 3:40pm Office Hours- Monday through Friday 8:00AM to 4:00 PM

Satellite Distribution Locations are in Harwich, New Bedford, Salem, Plymouth and Taunton.

All holidays and closed days will be listed on the Message Board section on the online ordering home page.

How do I know what types of foods are right for my clients?

Deciding what foods to buy will always be a challenge. The Greater Boston Food Bank can help you make the right food purchasing decisions for your clientele. The Food Bank offers nutrition consults and workshops to all our Member Agencies. To find out more, please call our Nutrition Department at 617-427-5200.

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