Of all the changes at The River caused by the pandemic, perhaps the largest one was moving pantry sessions outdoors to support the health of clients, volunteers, and staff. While this transition was necessary, it was difficult as it took away something our clients value greatly: choice.
While we worked to box up the widest variety of groceries as possible for curbside pickup, our team began exploring an online ordering option to empower households to choose their own groceries again—only this time with a click.
This summer, we are thrilled to launch Dane County’s newest food pantry online ordering system, called ePantry!
The River’s ePantry will be open for orders in August. Once a month, households will have the option to order their groceries online.
Based on household size, families select from a variety of healthy and nutritious food, including fresh produce, meat, dairy, culturally relevant offerings, and special dietary options, such as vegetarian and gluten-free items.
Designated pick-up times will be available Wednesday through Friday. Clients who are homebound can still access ePantry and have their groceries delivered through River Delivers, a free delivery service to those who are unable to visit the pantry.
Thanks to a collaborative effort between staff, supporters and the community, this exciting technological innovation will increase access to healthy food in Dane County and restore client choice.
Client choice is important because it:
- Gives clients a sense of dignity and control
- Allows clients to tailor the resources they receive to be the best possible fit for their own unique situation
- Limits waste
Through client feedback, we have learned that many are looking forward to this new service. We are already brainstorming ideas to make ePantry accessible to all—not just those with internet access. We look forward to working with our community to grow ePantry to meet the need for food assistance throughout Dane County.