The Durham Community Food Pantry (DCFP), a program of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh, plays a vital role in the community, distributing over 1.8 million pounds of food annually to neighbors in need. Through a Traditional Food Pantry model in Durham County and a Mobile Food Pantry model in Orange County, the DCFP serves as a lifeline for many struggling families.

Recently, the DCFP became a TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program) distribution site. This federal program, designed to supplement the diets of individuals meeting income standards in North Carolina, will enable the DCFP to continue supporting families and individuals facing food insecurity.

Sue Williams, DCFP program director, recognized the immense impact this opportunity could have on the community. She shared, “Families can only visit us once a month and we try to distribute about a week’s worth of groceries. Many families are hungry and struggling while waiting for their next visit. TEFAP allows us to provide food more frequently, helping to complete their diets consistently.”

Expanding services with TEFAP addresses physical hunger and provides peace of mind. Sue explained, “It gives them the security of knowing they can eat. Without TEFAP, the food we provide may only last a week, especially for larger families. With TEFAP, clients can plan their meals more comfortably without worrying about their next meal.”

Moreover, TEFAP helps overcome transportation barriers that some people face. Sue highlighted, “For those without transportation, they were limited to what they could carry. Now, they can return for additional support without worry.”

The TEFAP distribution officially launched on May 1st, with a line of people waiting to register. Catholic Charities leaders anticipate this expansion will allow the agency to serve more people and provide additional support to those who rely on the traditional and mobile food pantries.