(608) 442-8815



Would you like to help out? Check out how easy it is to serve at The River. Find out more.

“I have always been the type of person that hates to ask for help. With the struggles I have had trying to find a job, I had to lower my pride and walk into the door at The River. The volunteers and helpers were so kind to me and explained what I needed to do. I ended up with more groceries than I ever imagined I would receive. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for putting food back on my table!”


New Client


The River is Dane County's busiest food pantry and in 2015 welcomed 30,605 family visits.

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Make a Difference With Thrivent

Did you know if you're a Thrivent member, you can recommend where some of Thrivent Financial's charitable outreach funds go.

Thrivent members have Thrivent Choice Dollars that can be donated to The River Food Pantry! Members become eligible for Thrivent Choice based on insurance premiums, contract values and Thrivent volunteer leadership. Click here to learn more about Thrivent Dollars.


Thrivent members can also make an immediate impact on The River Food Pantry by creating a one-time fundraiser with a Thrivent Action Team. Benefit members are eligible to lead two Thrivent Action Teams per calendar year, and associate members are eligible to lead one per calendar year. Click here to learn more about Thrivent Action Teams.


A volunteer coordinated a Thriven Action team last year and held a Food Drive Blitz which raised over $1,500 and 1,700 pounds of food. Read more about the blitz here.



Contact Staci Lein from Thrivent Financial if you have any questions regarding your membership.

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Meet Angela

It's More Than Just Food At The Pantry


For the past 11 years, The River Food Pantry’s mission has been to help individuals and families struggling to make ends meet by providing food, clothing, and meals while also connecting with the community and contributing to a greater good. Angela

There are many reasons why a person walks through The River’s door, many need that little assistance of the pantry so they can pay their bills and rent on time. For others, there simply would not be food on the table if it wasn’t for The River Food Pantry. Angela has been shopping at The River on and off for the past 5 years. “It hasn’t always been like this for me,” Angela recalls after having her car loaded with bags full of food from the pantry. “Everything changed when I had my son, Thor, and became a stay at home mom.” Angela’s husband works long hours as a cab drive but the one source of income just isn’t enough for the family to make ends meet on their own.

Angela said she’s so thankful for a place like The River because her family is not always able to purchase groceries with their budget. “We simply do not have enough money,” Angela stated. “It’s really unfortunate that we have to rely on the pantry for a source of food at times but without it, I don’t know what we’d do.”

Not only is The River a place for Angela and her family to receive clothes and groceries, it’s an environment that she feels comfortable to open up to. At a young age, Thor was diagnosed with autism, “I can still recall telling the news to Rhonda, The River’s Operations Director, when he was first diagnosed,” Angela recalls. “She hugged me and reassured me that everything was going to be okay, and she was right…He’s my own little super hero.”

Guests who visit The River not only receive fresh, nutritious food and basic necessities, but they also enjoy the simple pleasure of decency, compassion and dignity. The River understands behind every plate and every product, there’s a person and a neighbor in need. With the help of volunteers and donors, people like Angela know they have a place for food, clothing, comfort and a place to connect with others in the community. “I know it’s going to get better,” Angela shared with a smile. “I’m just glad we have this place to rely on for right now.”


Read more about Angela and how The River has helped her in the 2017 Spring Newsletter.



Breakfast With Bunny 2017

Easter Bunny Hops to the Northside

What could be better than a chance to meet the Easter Bunny? Join The River Food Pantry, St. Paul Lutheran Church and the Northside Business Association at Benvenuto’s Italian Grill Northport Drive on Saturday, April 1st, 8 – 10:30am for Breakfast with Bunny! Enjoy a tasty breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, ham, and bacon. Best of all, the Easter Bunny will be there handing out Easter baskets to the children!

Tickets: $6 Adults/$4 Children age 3-12/Free for children under 3

Ticket Outlets:

   - Old National Bank, 2929 North Sherman Avenue

    - DuWayne's Salon, 2114 North Sherman Avenue

    - The UPS Store, 1213 North Sherman Avenue

    - Benvenuto's, 1849 Northport Drive. 

Net proceeds from Breakfast with the Bunny benefit Northside food pantries, including The River Food Pantry. Donations of non-perishable food items, paper or personal hygiene items will also be accepted at the breakfast.

RSVP and share with friends on the Breakfast with Bunny Facebook event page.




3rd Annual Fun On Ice Recap!


We may not have played on the ice, but everyone that attended sure had Fun! The third annual Fun on Ice was filled with games, food, music and laughter. The event, held at The East Side Club, brought in $2,100! That money will help keep our lights on and shelves full with healthy food for families struggling to make ends meet.

Outside we had fun winter games, delicious soups from Good Food, hot coffee from Starbucks on Monona Dr, cookies from Manna Café, and spirits provided by Yahara Bay Distillary. indoors was filled with crafts, games, music thanks to The Fancy Pears and UW Marching Band and great pick-a-prize raffles items from local businesses! Bucky Badger danced around giving high fives and posing for pictures. WISC-TV reporter Adam Schrager took on the event’s emcee role while Krista from 93.1 Jamz stopped by with gifts.

We would like to thank everyone that came to the fun event as well as everyone who took the time to volunteer. The money raised at Fun On Ice will help the 600+ households that visit The River each week.

Thanks again Summit Credit Union & Thysse Printing for sponsoring Fun on Ice and Wisconsin Oral Surgery & Dental Implants for sponsoring Bucky Badger; thanks Good Food, Starbucks, Yahara Bay Distillery for providing food and drinks; and thank you UW Marching Band and The Fancy Pears for being our entertainment!


Make sure to follow us on Facebook! We'll be posting more photos and videos from the event.




Meet Katie

At The River's 2016 Harvest Dinner for Hunger, we met Katie. For many years, Katie and her husband have been struggling to feed their four children but TheRiverHarvestDinner2016 96always seemed to make it work. “We don’t live above our means,” Katie said. “We’re just trying to make a living but times are tough right now.” Katie has been shopping at The River Food Pantry for over a year. “It’s not cheap to feed a family of six,” Katie explained. “Especially in the summer when the kids are home for all three meals.”

Before shopping at The River, Katie’s husband would raise enough money for groceries by scrapping metal on the weekends. Katie recalled visiting grocery stores with a calculator in one hand and a list in the other making sure not to go over their budget. “I used to plan my grocery shopping and visit multiple stores,” Katie recalled. “I knew exactly what store had the best prices for items we needed.”

Unfortunately, last year the price of metal dropped drastically. Katie and her husband could no longer afford food for their four children. “We went from making $100 for groceries to barely $30,” Katie said. “It’s impossible to feed a family of six on that type of budget. We were struggling and needed help.”

Katie said since shopping at The River, the stress of not knowing what to feed her children has gone away. “We’re still struggling but I at least know there will be food on the table for my kids every night,” Katie said. “Without The River, I’m not sure what my children would have to eat. It will get better for our family, but for right now we’re able to keep our head above water with the help from The River.”
Katie said she enjoys shopping at the pantry and bringing her kids for dinner. “The staff have become like an extended family to me,” she said smiling.

For the past ten years, The River Food Pantry has been offering a hand up, not a hand out to people in the community like Katie. “My husband and I are trying to make a living and we thank God there’s a place like this to help us when we need it.”

The River is a completely self-funded organization, meaning we rely on donations to keep our shelves stocked so individuals and families, like Katie, know they have a place for food and comfort. Learn more about The Power of Ten and ways you can support The River here.


Current Needs

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
- Matthew 25:35-36

The River Food Pantry
2201 Darwin Rd. | Madison, WI 53704
Phone: (608) 442-8815

In accordance with Federal Law and U.S. Department of Agriculture Policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave, SW , Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

In addition the State of Wisconsin prohibits discrimination in the delivery of services on all the above bases, as well as sexual orientation and religion. 

The River Food Pantry complies with all Federal, State and local laws regarding nondiscrimination and is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons.