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Four summer interns at American Family Insurance selected The River Food Pantry as their non-profit in 2018 for the third annual American Family Insurance Share Tank Intern Challenge. American Family Insurance’s “Share Tank” project required eighteen teams of interns to select a local non-profit organization, interview its managers, volunteer, identify a need for the business and then develop a solution to the need.

Like the television program, “Shark Tank”, the teams then created a proposal and pitched it to a panel of judges at the American Family Insurance headquarters on Thursday, July 26, but the interns have been hard at work all summer. Jillian, Alyssa, Shreya, and Taylor spent many days at The River seeing how our pantry runs, going on trips with our Mobile Lunch Program, and see what we needed to fully our vision of a fully nourished community. Simply put, they realized we’re running out of refrigerated space.

“The River Food Pantry needs to expand its cooler space,” said Taylor during the proposal, “they’re trying to increase the amount of healthy, fresh food served for community meals and put in MUNCH lunches to appeal to all cultures that may not eat nonperishable goods from a can or box that are found at a typical food pantry.”

The interns took on the daring goal of asking for $10,000, an amount that exceeded the budget of the ShareTank proposal. This funding wouldn’t even cover the project cost of $25,000, but we were lucky to have such a courageous crew of interns.  “We acknowledge our project went over budget, however, this need is so great that we went to extra lengths to ensure the cost stayed within our scope,” said Alyssa. “We have considered and mitigated, what we believe to be the main risks associated with this investment. The River has secured a donor to cover the additional projected remaining cost of $15,000 for the project and all expansion plans have been approved,” she noted.

With all of this in mind, the judges went on to review their proposal as well as the seventeen other awesome local non-profits with their own driven group of interns. Unfortunately, The River did not proceed to the finals. In the end, the two winning groups presented on the behalf of Middleton Outreach Ministries and Clean Lakes Alliance. All present organizations did receive a check for $1,000 from the American Family Dreamer’s Foundation!

Regardless of the outcome, we want to thank and commend the hard work of our dedicated group of interns. We thank them for spending time planning and preparing this proposal as well as volunteering at The River and helping MUNCH. Jillian, an American Family graphic design intern, even created an inviting new sign for The River to use in neighborhoods were MUNCH is served. This group was committed to The River’s mission and have bright futures ahead of them. Thank you all!

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