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Because of wonderful supporters like you, The River Food Pantry helps thousands of individuals and families in need here in Madison and Dane County.

We’d like to tell you about one of them: Jemal Massie.

Jemal couldn’t continue working in his construction business due to chronic pain in his ankles, and his wife’s take-home pay was dramatically decreased as she has to pay more for benefits. Times were tough, the money was tight. A police officer friend told Jemal about us, but…

It took months for Jemal to summon the courage to come in.

“I had to feel good about myself coming in before I could take the first step.”

When he finally came in, he was met with welcoming smiles, and over the months, he returned to shelves stocked with bread and cereal, apples and tomatoes, generosity and love.

We asked him if he’d like to volunteer, and he jumped at the chance. He came often.

We were so impressed with his personalisty, character, and work ethic, we asked him if he’d like to work here part time, and he jumped at the chance again.

The River helps your neighbors, co-workers, church members, moms and dads, kids and teens, veterans and seniors- we help everybody, and they’re all treated with courtesy, respect, dignity, and sensitivity because we’ve got the Jemal Massies of the world here, eger to help.

Good people need exrahelp with groceries or a past-due utlility bill that must be paid to keep the lights and furnace on. There may be a prescription that they aren’t refilling because their kids need shoes, but they need to have those pills.

When a group of committed volunteers first opened the doors of The river in 2006, they did it out of an expression of love and mercy for those in need in the Madison area. Since then, we’ve grown so much and have become the busiest food pantry in Dane County, with over 2,700 families served every month.

Through your kindness, you have helped Jemal and thousands more, and for that you richly deserve our enthusiastic thanks.

Every day at The River, we see people enter our doors for the first time tentatively, self-consiously, even fearfully, and they leave with a grocery cart filled to the brim, a smile, and the weight of the world lifted off their shoulders.

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