MADISON, Wis. — March 25, 2021 — The River Food Pantry recently received a $422,500 grant from the Inland Empire Community Foundation — the largest gift the food pantry has seen since its creation in 2006. The funding will be used to increase access to fresh, healthy produce for Dane County households facing food insecurity.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Inland Empire Community Foundation for their generosity to help The River provide the quantity and quality of fruits and vegetables that our community needs to be healthy,” said Rhonda Adams, Executive Director of The River. “When you eat better, you feel better. We believe this investment in fresh produce will significantly improve our clients’ health and wellbeing.”
The River will use the funding to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables for all the organization’s free programs, including curbside groceries, to-go meals, mobile lunches, and grocery delivery. Clients will also be able to select the produce they want using The River’s upcoming online marketplace, which will launch later this spring.
In 2020, The River provided a record 3.7 million pounds of food to over 6,000 households. A large portion of the food included fresh produce purchased or recovered from a variety of local partners, including farmers thanks to the Dane County CARES Act. With this new grant, The River aims to provide more fresh produce than ever before to existing clients, in addition to 1,500 new food-insecure households this year.
“As the busiest food pantry in South Central Wisconsin, The River serves over 1,000 households every week. Many of these households utilized our services for the first time during the pandemic. Yet, we know that there are still children, seniors and families in our community who face barriers to accessing the nutritious food they need,” said Adams. “This grant—in combination with continued support from donors—will help us strengthen access to a fresh and stable supply of free fruits and vegetables for those in need throughout Dane County.”
Part of the grant funding will also go toward coordination efforts, including packaging, distribution, storage, education and more.
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About The River Food Pantry
The River Food Pantry, serving over 1,000 diverse households each week, is South Central Wisconsin’s busiest food pantry. Our services include free groceries for curbside pickup or delivery, freshly prepared to-go meals, and mobile lunches for children and families in low-income neighborhoods. More than just a food pantry, we build community by offering opportunities to serve, donate, and collaborate. We also partner with local organizations to minimize food waste and improve access to reliable sources of food. Since opening in 2006, our vision is to achieve a fully nourished community.
The River Food Pantry