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Free food for seniors and kids from Commodity Supplemental Food Program.

Senior citizens and children will get free food from the government CSFP program as well as other resources. Nutritious commodities, referrals to social services, surplus food and nutrition education are all part of the program. Learn where seniors and kids will get free food near them, including from the federal government USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

The government, in partnership with local charities and non-profits, will provide an assortment of free food and groceries to the low income. There will be items such as cheese, milk, juices, cereal, dairy, and other so called commodities. Government assistance is wide ranging, and free food is offered for seniors who are sixty years of age or older, pregnant women and families with children up to age six.

Several conditions need to be met, including age criteria as well as household income. Local CSFP food banks as well as charities will review an application before the Commodity Supplemental Food Program will provide families with groceries, commodities, government cheese, peanut butter or dairy and food. Find how to apply below. All services are offered at no cost to qualified families and it is free to apply for free surplus commodities.

While the U.S. Department of Agriculture funds and manages the program at the national level, the free commodities for seniors (including those on Medicare) and kids is distributed at the state and local county level. State governments will subcontract with non-profit agencies, CSFP certified food banks or pantries near you, and charities throughout the area for the distribution of the food to those who need help. Each state may have their own eligibility requirements that is used for determining exactly who is eligible to receive assistance from CSFP.

As indicated above, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program is targeted at certain individuals. It is extensive in that over 500,000 people will receive some form of free nutritional support from the program every year. In general, the following will give free government food commodities to the following people who apply for help.

  • Women and their children that can’t qualify for the federal government Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) or SNAP due to their financial or personal situation may be able to receive assistance from CSFP.
  • Elderly and seniors who are 60 years of age or older will get free food as well as free groceries for seniors on Medicare.
  • Non-breastfeeding women 6-12 months postpartum may be eligible.
  • Families with kids who are six years old or younger may be able to receive free food and surplus items.
  • Families that can’t qualify for other government aid, such as welfare.




Types of free food given to senior citizens, women or kids

High quality commodity foods are made available from CSFP to those who need help. All products are made available from the United States Department of Agriculture as well as the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Local pantries and soup kitchens may also provide supplemental support to clients. Free food and groceries that are available for monthly distribution from the government surplus commodity program, at no cost to qualified clients, include:

  • Cheese and dairy products
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Peanut butter, dried beans, jelly
  • Canned fish and various meats
  • Evaporated and nonfat dry milk
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Fruit juices and beverages
  • Rice, macaroni, spaghetti

All of the assistance offered from Commodity Supplemental Food Program was never meant to completely fulfill a families diet and meet all of their nutritional needs. In other words, the food packages from CSFP will not provide a complete diet. However the free government food program is a great source of nutrients that seniors, children, and pregnant women need. They can supplement those items and nutrients that are often lacking in the diets of these individuals.

How to apply for free food from CSFP near you

Most states offer the program to their residents. The organizations at the state government level that run the CSFP program will usually be a social service organization or department of health. Regardless of which state agency administers it for your community, at the end of the day public and non-profit local agencies and food pantries accept applications. They distribute the free government commodity food boxes to the low income, senior citizens and qualified families.





These local non-profit agencies and CSFP food banks accept applications, and will determine the eligibility of people who seek help. For anyone seeking more information on this service, including how to apply, a social worker from a local pantry can be a great resource. Learn more and find how to get a free food box near you.

For those that qualify, a pantry or center will distribute food from the CSFP to those who need it most. Not only will these agencies provide products, but they will also offer nutrition education and counseling. Most agencies will also provide referrals to other nutrition and welfare resources such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and health care programs such as Medicaid or Medicare.

Contacts for CSFP food commodities

Contact your local state social services or human resources agency for free CSFP food by state below to get more information or to apply. Or call a pantry or local community action agency. As indicated the criteria to apply for Commodity Supplemental Food Program in each state may vary. Select your state below for more details.

In addition to calling an agency at the state level, you can also call or stop by a non-profit agency in your town or county. This can include a local community action agency, the Salvation Army, or a food pantry. Many different resources can help with applications to CSFP. Click here to find non-profits in your state and county.































New Hampshire

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There are many other benefits to this program. The charities and non-profits that disburse free food to senior citizens in your community, and that also help kids or pregnant women, will offer other social services. The goal of CSFP is to ensure the most vulnerable in the population get free commodities, dairy items such as cheese or protein including peanut butter and more. Get more details on USDA commodity program and how it helps.


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