(608) 442-8815



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

“For me, food security is the foundation for everything.  If you have that - by using the pantry if needed - you can think about getting a better job, helping your kids with homework, working on your relationships, etc.  Without food security, everything is a much bigger struggle.”


Donor & Volunteer

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

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Happy Nutrition Month! Part III

Crockpots are a great tool for preparing a homecooked, budget friendly meal when time is in short supply. You can set the crockpot to medium, go to work and come home to dinner. (Bonus, it makes your home sell delicious!) You can even leave the crockpot on overnight, which is especially useful when preparing recipes that call for dried beans.

This week’s Nutrition Month recipe is for all those busy working families that shop at The River (and everyone else who likes a good curry)!

Crockpot Curry


1 1/2 cups onion, chopped

1 cup carrots, sliced (if using canned, drain and add with spinach)

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated & peeled (or ginger powder)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cups potato, peeled and cubed

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

3 cans vegetable curry soup

2 cans cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 can spinach, drained

1 can green beans, drained

1 can peas, drained

1 serrano chile, seeded and minced (or any hot pepper, optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


Combine everything except spinach, green beans and peas in crockpot. Cook on medium for 4-6 hours. Add spinach, green beans and peas and cook for an additional 2 hours.

Everything you need for this recipe can be found at The River!

onions and potatoes

garbanzo beans peas carrots horizontal

curry soup

spinach canned

green beans


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Happy Nutrition Month! Part II

The River is committed to stocking the shelves with food you’d be proud to feed your family. Why? Because The River aims to do more than stave off hunger pains. The River works to feed the hearts and souls of each and every person who visits. Making healthy food available and meeting more than basic needs are both central to The River’s mission.

Being able to choose healthy food matters to people. Here’s what Chuck shared about shopping at The River:

What does The River mean to me?

Being on a fixed income (and with today’s ever-rising prices), it enables me to actually pay-off my bills and still be able to eat.

Not just eat, but good nutritious wholesome food, as compared to macaroni & cheese and potato chips.

I especially appreciate the large variety of produce, which I normally don’t buy because of the prices.

In honor of Nutrition Month, here’s a healthy recipe that can be made entirely with ingredients from The River. What do you think? What role should food pantries play in helping to meet the nutrition needs of the food insecure? Do you have any healthy-budget friendly recipes to share?

Recipe adapted from

Salmon Pasta Salad


16 oz. pasta (whichever type you prefer)

1 can peas, rinsed and drained

1 can spinach, drained

1 can salmon, drained and flaked

½ cup Italian salad dressing (more or less to taste)

½ cup carrots, finely chopped

1 ½ cup diced tomatoes (can substitute 1 can diced tomatoes)

½ jalapeno, finely chopped (optional)

½ cup fresh cilantro (optional)

1 avocado (ripe, peeled and sliced)

1 tbsp. lemon juice


Bring pot of water to boil and cook pasta as directed. Drain and set aside.

Combine carrots and tomatoes in large pot, heat until liquid begins to boil, then reduce heat and add spinach, peas, salmon, salad dressing and jalapeno (if using). Stir well and heat through. Add pasta and toss. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, cilantro and avocado. Serve.

Everything you need for this recipe can be found at The River!

pasta labels

peas canned

spinach canned

salmon canned

italian salad dressing

tomatoes avocadoes labeled


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Happy Nutrition Month!

Here at The River, we take nutrition very seriously. Why? Because nearly 40% of those served by The River are children and we know that proper nutrition is critical to the mental and physical health and well-being of growing children.

You can read more about the consequences of food insecurity for children here.

Food pantries are an important resource for the food insecure and food pantries are THE PLACE to connect food insecure adults and children with healthy, nutritious food. Why? Because when money is tight and SNAP benefits just don’t cut it, shopping carts and cupboards are filled with inexpensive food like products that are highly processed, high in sodium and sugar and lacking in healthy fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Food pantries who provide fresh produce, connect the food insecure with nutrients essential to a healthy diet.

Stocking healthy food options is central to The River’s mission to bring a message of mercy and hope to those in need by providing nutritional basics and encouragement. Stocking the shelves, freezer and refrigerator with healthy and nutritious food is key to showing mercy and sharing encouragement, because it reaffirms each person’s individual humanity. Making nutritious food options available is key to realizing The River’s mission and it’s one of the things that sets The River apart.

In honor of Nutrition Month, here’s a healthy recipe that can be made entirely with ingredients from The River. What do you think? What role should food pantries play in helping to meet the nutrition needs of the food insecure? Do you have any healthy-budget friendly recipes to share?

Special thanks to River Chef and Kitchen Manager Joel for putting together this recipe.

Brown Rice Salad


4 cups cooked brown rice

1 can black beans, drained & rinsed

1 can garbanzo beans, drained & rinsed

1 can sweet corn, drained & rinsed

3 tablespoons Italian salad dressing

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

½ cup nuts (optional)

Garlic powder to taste

Salt to taste


Combine all ingredients in large bowl and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature. To serve warm, add 3 tablespoons of water and microwave on high for 1 minute (or until heated through).

Serves 3-4 as entrée, 6-8 as side

Everything you need for this recipe can be found at The River!

brown rice

garbanzo black beans and corn

italian salad dressing

How about some fresh veggies? Bell pepper and avocado would make a great addition to this brown rice salad!

peppers and avocadoes

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Eyes of a Child

Brecken Stotesbery is a young volunteer at The River Food Pantry with an interest in film-making.  Over the Christmas holidays, when Brecken was on a break from school, he spend a couple of days at The River and made a short film about his experiences.

Brecken has entered the film into the White House Student Film Festival.  The theme for this year's festival is "The Impact of Giving Back."  Students from across the U.S. have put together short (3-minutes or less) films that tell a story of paying it forward, community service, or what it looks like to make a difference in the community. All of the films show a passion for service and giving back.


You Tube Screen


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Food Insecurity & Children

Last week, data released by the Census Bureau revealed that 1 in 5 children in the US received SNAP benefits in 2014. It’s not much of a stretch to assume then that 1 in 5 children in the US are food insecure, a pretty troubling statistic.

Food insecure children don’t know where their next meal will come from. They live in a world of feast and famine. Today they may eat three good meals. Tomorrow they might be lucky to eat one. Children who are food insecure are at risk of being malnourished, and as a result, suffering from physical ailments such as rashes, bloating and a weakened immune system, as well as behavioral conditions, such as anxiety, moodiness and psychiatric issues.

If you don’t know when you’ll eat next, will you be able to focus in school? Perform well in sports?

If you can’t focus in school, how will your grades or future educational opportunities be impacted?

In 2014, 39% of people who benefited from The River Food Pantry’s services were children. You can help these children, and more like them, by supporting The River’s mission to provide nutritional assistance to those in need.

No child should go to bed hungry. No child should spend the weekend distracted by hunger pains. Every child deserves the opportunity to do well in school and to grow up healthy and happy.

More than 40,000 children in Madison receive SNAP benefits. You can help ensure these food insecure kids and their families don’t go hungry by supporting Dane County’s busiest food pantry.

Volunteer. Donate. Get involved.

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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.