(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.

See the Pantry Publications.Arrow

Harvest Dinner For Hunger The Harvest Dinner for Hunger benfit for The River was held on Thursday, October 14.  It was a great success with over 200 attendees and delicious food prepared by the chefs and staffs from the Market Street Diner and Monty's Blue Plate Diner.  Many thanks to the volunteers who helped make the event such a success.  Many area businesses donated food, drinks and items to auction off in the silent auction.  It is truly amazing to see so many working together to serve the needy in Madison.
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Touched Twice

Saturday, October 2 is the date for the next Touched Twice medical and dental clinic, hosted by Calvary Gospel and Cross Point Churches. This is a free clinic for those without access to regular medical and dental care.

The River Food Pantry will again provide a lunch for all participants as well as offering a mobile food pantry event for participants to shop for groceries.

The River can use a lot of volunteers for its two events that day. It's a really rewarding experience. If you are interested please email us at mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please consider coming out to the event and helping some of our less fortunate fellow Madison neighbors.

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Blurring the lines between the server and the served At The River Food Pantry, volunteers make it happen. Almost 100 people each week give a few hours to help meet the basic food and clothing needs of their neighbors in Dane County. It is remarkable who shows up to serve.

Today at the pantry these are the volunteers I saw:

  • Ferris Center inmates volunteering their time through the Huber work release program
  • A Mexican immigrant couple
  • A young woman who works part time and helps run a Christian ministry in Madison
  • A mom and her 5 year old son who are international missionaries home on furlough looking for something fun to do
  • An elderly, retired photographer
  • A client who saw the need for more volunteers and stepped in to help out with our clothing area after she got her food
  • A woman who lives a few blocks from the pantry and who regularly comes to help out a couple times a week

Some interesting facts about River volunteers: Almost 25% of our volunteers are also clients. Last year, volunteers gave over 26,000 hours of service—which is the equivalent of 13 full time jobs!

Who might be there to volunteer tomorrow?

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Cassie’s Story Cassie made her second visit to The River a few weeks ago during the noon pantry session. The young woman took extra time while going through the client registration to stop and thank Jenny, saying how utterly thankful she was for The River. Cassie works as a nanny, and when the kids are sick or the family is out of town, she doesn't work. The irregularity in her work severely cut into her income this past month. She had enough to cover the main bills--rent and utilities, but food was a last priority and the money had run out. Cassie said, "My cupboards are empty. Without The River I would really be freaking out." This had happened one other time a few months back. Like many of our clients, Cassie uses The River as her last resort. The River is a social safety net that makes the difference between empty and full cupboards, and between stress and security for people like Cassie.

Thanks to all of you who give of your time and resources to help The River give hope to people like Cassie.
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Sweet Donation

On Friday The River received a food donation from a company from whom we'd received a few things in the past. Previously, we had gotten a few boxes at a time of one of their products: some health bars--coconut something-or-other.

Last week this company called up The River to say they would be around Friday afternoon to drop off a donation. The semi was going to come up from Beloit.

Around 4pm the semi arrived with the donation. Their cargo: chocolate bars.

And not just chocolate bars--a half dozen varieties of 80% cacao dark chocolate bars--mint, cherry almond, solid dark...

And not just dark chocolate, but organic, fair trade dark chocolate. Cacao farmers were paid a living wage for the cacao beans that flavored these high quality chocolate bars.

And not just a a few boxes of dark chocolate bars, but 6 PALLETS of dark chocolate bars. Dozens of boxes on each pallet, scores of chocolate bars in each box. Thousands of chocolate bars!!!

It smelled like Heaven (or Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory...) at The River last Friday night and it tasted like Heaven, too! And the chocolate bars were free for the taking for client families that night. Can you just imagine God's pleasure at raining down such a free, extravagant gift on needy families in Madison? So sweet...literally.

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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.