(608) 442-8815



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

"I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. The River was a source of comfort for me a few years back when I lost a job. Before that, like many people seem to, I thought a food pantry was only for "bums". I was ashamed to go. But once there, I saw the people there were just like me - people who had simply fallen on bad luck, were having trouble making ends meet. It was a very respectful place, free from judgment. Thank you."


Former Client

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

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food drive with cans 

One CAN Make a Difference! 

Get involved by organizing a food drive! Hold a food drive at your church, in your office, in your neighborhood or among a group of friends interested in lending a hand to our neighbors in need. To help you plan and hold a successful food drive, we've put together a FOOD DRIVE KIT with everything you need to get organized and collect donations.

The FOOD DRIVE KIT contains:

      • A customizable letter explaining what you are doing, where the food is going and why a food drive is important. Customize the letter with your name, the date(s)/time(s) and location of your food drive and share it with your friends, family and supporters. download letter here
      • A customizable flyer to help promote your food drive. Customize the flyer with your name, the date(s)/time(s) and location of your food drive and then print it out and post it to spread the word about your food drive. download flyer here
      • The River Needs List. You and your donors will know exactly what items are needed most so your drive is focused. You can use this list to organize a themed drive (examples, personal hygiene item drive or protein drive). download needs list here


    Let's Collect Some Food!

Let’s get you started down the road to a successful River Food Drive. It’s not too difficult; just follow these simple steps…

  1. Set Reasonable Goals: Think about how many people will take part in your River Food Drive and for how long you will be collecting food.
  2. Decide How You Will Collect Food: A barrel in the office? Door-to-door requests? A neighborhood party?
  3. Gather Needed Materials: We can help with Fact Sheets, Posters, Collection Barrels and more.
  4. Spread the Word:
    1. If your River Food Drive is open to the general public – let us know about it and we can help with social media as well as postings on The River Food Pantry website and in our email newsletter.
      Email your information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    2. Include your River Food Drive in your own social media postings, emails to family/friends/coworkers/etc.
  5. Get Excited…and Get Others Excited Too: Create a contest, offer prizes, put together a daily trivia contest to go with your River Food Drive, get creative!
  6. Collect Your Food…and Deliver it to The River Food Pantry: Let us know when you’re coming, so we can help you unload…and we’d love to get pictures too! For large food drives, we would be happy to pick up the collected food.


We Can Help!

  • The River Food Pantry is here to answer your questions. foodbin
    • Call 608-442-8815 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Do you need collection barrels for your food drive? Need fact-sheets for your River Food Drive…click here.
    • Call 608-442-8815 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Need someone to talk to your group about the current needs of The River Food Pantry? Let us know, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The River Food Pantry is Dane County's busiest food pantry, serving over 600 families and distributing 40,000 pounds of food each week. The River Food Pantry is a 501 (c)(3) charity, so your donations are completely tax deductible.

While The River is a faith-based community, we are not affiliated with any one church. We receive donations and support from a variety of churches and faith based groups. All are welcome at The River, regardless of faith. Likewise, The River is not affiliated with any government or corporate entity. The River operates on donations from people like you and strives to be good stewards of your money. In 2013, 87 cents of every dollar donated to The River funded programs and services that benefit individuals and families in need in Dane County. A $10 donation to The River buys $100 worth of food.


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.