DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
The Emergency Food Assistance Program Reach and Resiliency Grant; 2022-2023 Application Period
[53 Pa.B. 1808]
[Saturday, April 1, 2023]
The Department of Agriculture (Department) announces the program requirements and application period for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) Reach and Resiliency Grant Program (Program) under the United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. Grants will be distributed to qualified TEFAP Emergency Recipient Agencies (ERA) in this Commonwealth. The Program aims to expand TEFAP's reach into remote, rural, Tribal or low-income areas, or both, that are underserved under the Program. The Department intends to make up to $1.6 million available for grants under the Program.
1. Program objectives.
(a) Purpose. The Department will award Program grants to qualified TEFAP ERAs in this Commonwealth through a competitive sub-granting process. Qualified ERAs may include county agencies and food banks with whom the Department has direct contracts for the administration of TEFAP, lead agencies designated by the county agencies to administer TEFAP and local agencies (for example, food pantries, food cupboards, school pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and the like) who operate through a newly established or existing agreement with another ERA. Priority will be given to regional projects, in which one county, food bank or lead agency serves as the lead to coordinate the project across multiple counties. Activities may include:
(1) Onboarding new partners and assisting with necessary costs to establish a new distribution site. Counties or food banks, or both, with whom the Department has direct contracts may partner with charitable nonprofit organizations who do not currently distribute TEFAP but have been determined by the county or food bank, or both, to have the ability and capacity to aid with the further distribution of TEFAP into underserved areas.
(2) Investments in cold-storage infrastructure. Examples of this infrastructure may include items such as industrial-sized refrigerators or freezers, or both, walk-in refrigerators or freezers, or both, and refrigerated or nonrefrigerated box trucks. Installation and shipping costs will also be eligible for support.
(3) Building renovations for existing and newly acquired spaces.
(4) Warehouse equipment. This may include items such as nonrefrigerated box trucks, pallet jacks, dollies, building shelving and racking, and the like. This may also include the cost of vehicles to conduct mobile distributions of TEFAP food.
(5) Materials necessary for the storage, transportation and distribution of TEFAP foods and costs of materials associated with publicizing the TEFAP Program and the distributions of TEFAP foods.
(b) Applicants. Applicants must be a qualified TEFAP ERA operating in this Commonwealth.
(c) Project funding priorities. The Department will prioritize eligible projects in rural, remote or low-income areas that are underserved.
(d) Competitive program. The Program is competitive. Grant requests and related documentation will be reviewed by the Department, who will approve or reject each grant request.
(e) Funds available basis. Grants will only be awarded to the extent that funds are available for this purpose. The Department need not expend all the funds that are available for the Program.
2. Definitions. The following words and terms have the following meanings:
Applicant—County agencies and food banks with whom the Department has direct contracts for the administration of TEFAP, lead agencies designated by the county agencies to administer TEFAP and local agencies (for example, food pantries, food cupboards, school pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and the like).
Bureau—The Bureau of Food Assistance.
Secretary—The Secretary of the Department.
3. Limitations on grants. The amount of a grant shall be between $1,000 and $50,000. A grant is a reimbursement grant, meaning no payment of grant funds will be made by the Department until the applicant documents the completion of work to the Department in accordance with this notice and the terms and conditions of the executed grant agreement described in section 8 as follows. Reimbursement may be submitted once at the end of the grant period.
4. Uses of grant funds.
(a) Conformity to application. Grant funds awarded to an applicant shall be expended solely to reimburse the cost of the specific activities described in the grant application.
(b) Allowable expenditures of grant funds. Grant funds may be expended to pay for any of the activities listed in section 1(a) previously listed.
(a) Application required. Interested applicants shall submit grant applications to the Department. An application shall include a detailed work plan and project budget.
(b) Project commencement and completion dates. An application shall designate September 1, 2022, or a later date, as the project start date, and February 29, 2024, or earlier, as the project completion date. Program grant funds will not be awarded or paid for project activities that occur before the stated project start date or beyond the stated project completion date.
(c) Electronic applications only. Interested applicants must submit a complete electronic project proposal and grant application using the Department's Electronic Single Application web site at http://www.esa.dced.state.pa.us.
(d) Application window. Applications shall be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 26, 2023.
6. Review of application.
(a) Transmittal of application to Bureau. When the Bureau receives a complete and accurate grant application, it will forward this application, together with supporting documentation submitted therewith, to the Secretary for review. The Bureau may also forward a recommendation as to whether the application should be approved or rejected, whether the grant should be in an amount less than requested and whether special restrictions or limitations should be placed on the grant.
(b) Factors. The Secretary will review and evaluate the application and supporting documentation and may consider the following factors, among others, in deciding whether to approve or reject the grant request:
(1) The relevance of the project to the goals and objectives identified in this announcement.
(2) The geographic service area of the project.
(3) The demographics of the population being served.
(4) The impact which the project will have.
(5) The apparent ability of the applicant to complete the project as described in the application.
(6) Whether the project has been assigned priority for funding, as previously described in section 1(c).
(c) Decisions. The Secretary may approve a grant in an amount less than that requested in the grant application. In addition, the Secretary may impose restrictions or special conditions upon the issuance of a grant. The Secretary will review all recommendations of the Bureau but will have final authority to accept or reject these recommendations.
7. Notice of disposition of application.
The Department will e-mail notice of the acceptance or rejection of a grant application by Friday, June 30, 2023. This notice will be by e-mail to the address provided by the applicant in the grant application.
8. Grant agreement.
After the Secretary approves a grant application, and as a precondition to the Department's release of grant funds to a successful applicant, the Department and the applicant will execute a written or electronic grant agreement which describes the terms and conditions subject to which the grant is made. The grant agreement shall contain and conform to the requirements of this notice and shall also contain special terms and conditions as required by the Secretary.
9. Verification of project completion.
(a) General. Within 30 days of completion of the subject project, the applicant shall provide the Department with proof of the completion of the project and eligibility to receive reimbursement grant funds from the Department.
(b) Required documentation. The proof described in subsection (a) shall consist of:
(1) Copies of invoices for goods or services directly related to the project, confirming that the total billed amount is at least the amount of the grant, along with the written certification of the president or treasurer of the applicant that the goods or services that are the subject of the invoices have been delivered or provided to the applicant.
(2) A certificate of completion, signed by its president or treasurer, verifying completion of the subject project and stating that the grant funds will reimburse the applicant for costs incurred by the applicant in completing the subject project.
(3) A brief narrative describing the work completed, including any available metrics.
10. Delivery of grant funds by the Department. The Department will pay the grant amount to the applicant in a single payment within 45 days of receiving the proof of completion previously described in section 9.
11. Questions and additional information. Questions on this Program, including on the online application process, may be directed to Caryn Long Earl, Bureau of Food Assistance, Department of Agriculture, 2301 North Cameron Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408, (717) 772-2688.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 23-429. Filed for public inspection March 31, 2023, 9:00 a.m.]
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