|Detailed Objective: The effectiveness of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) has not been evaluated since 1982. Like larger and better known food assistance programs, such as the Food Stamp Program (FSP), the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), CSFP is administered at the national level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). Unlike these other programs, CSFP is not available in every State: 33 States operate programs, 14 of which have joined since the mid-1990s. Five more have filed plans but are currently unfunded.
Interstate and intrastate variability in geographic coverage, program design, and interactions with other food assistance programs make designing a useful evaluation difficult without better information on the kinds of programs States and localities deliver and the likely participation by eligible populations. All of CSFP’s growth has come from increased participation among the elderly, who were not eligible for the program when it began in FY 1969: they currently make up about 90 percent of the caseload. The goal of this research is to understand how CSFP fits into the array of Federal food assistance and nutrition programs—that is, whether it fulfills needs that would otherwise go unmet or, instead, duplicates other programs that may be more effective.