The District of Columbia will begin today to give away an ultimate total of 100,000 pounds of surplus cheese to needy families, including 18,000 pounds that will be handed out this afternoon at six Baptist churches around the city.

Julius Jacobs, food service director for the city school system, which handles surplus food distribution in the District, said four food banks that normally supply charitable organizations will make 35,400 pounds available to the needy through their existing citywide network, starting today.

That totals 53,400 pounds, roughly half the city's share of a stockpile of surplus processed American cheese that is being distributed nationally to needy familes. The overall allocation of 30 million pounds is part of a total of 560 million pounds accumulated by the federal government under a dairy price support program.

A second citywide distribution--also of about 50,000 pounds--will be scheduled in about two weeks, Jacobs said.

The Council of Churches of Greater Washington will oversee the distribution at the six churches starting at 1 p.m. Those eligible for the first-come, first-served distribution of one five-pound block of cheese must have a current 30-day Medicaid authorization card or a food stamp eligibility form.

Those qualified are people who receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or General Public Assistance (GPA).

The six churches serving today as distribution centers are:

Johnson Memorial Baptist, 800 Ridge Rd. SE; First Rising Mount Zion Baptist, 602 N St. NW; Covenant Baptist, 3845 South Capitol St. SE; Purity Baptist, 1325 Maryland Ave. NE; Friendship Baptist, 900 Delaware Ave. SW, and First Baptist of Deanwood, 4508 Sheriff Rd. NE.

The organizations listed by Jacobs as providing further distribution are: Washington Churches for Social Action Food Banks, 15,000 pounds; Crest Community Food Bank, 900 pounds; Capital Community Food Bank, 15,000 pounds, and Seventh-day Adventists World Service Food Bank, 4,500 pounds. These food banks do not distribute directly to individuals but operate only through neighborhood organizations and other charities, Jacobs stressed.

Neither Maryland nor Virginia has announced plans for distributing its shares of the nationwide stockpile.