The River Food Pantry Becomes First Redistribution Organization of Second Harvest Foodbank | The River Food Pantry
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Representatives from Second Harvest visited The River to commemorate their RDO agreement. From left to right: Lori Peppard, Second Harvest Agency Representative; Helen Osborn-Senatus, The River Director of Operations; Bethany Michiels, The River Community Coordinator; Michelle Orge, Second Harvest President/CEO; Rhonda Adams, The River Executive Director.

MADISON, Wis. — January 6, 2022 — The River Food Pantry has become the first redistribution organization (RDO) of Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. As an RDO, The River can now redirect food sourced from Second Harvest to other local organizations throughout Dane County.

“It is a privilege to expand The River’s partnership with Second Harvest, our largest food source,” said Rhonda Adams, Executive Director of The River. “We entered this RDO agreement because of our long-standing dedication to recover as much food as possible for the community from local food retailers, many of which were passed onto us from Second Harvest to strengthen our community-wide efforts to reduce food waste.”

Through this RDO agreement, The River is allowed to formalize partnerships with local organizations in need of support. Community partners receive regular donations of excess food and resources from The River to reach those who do not access the pantry’s services for various reasons.

“This expansion of our long-standing relationship with The River Food Pantry is an excellent example of partners developing new and more efficient ways to meet the needs of those facing hunger in our community, and the organizations trying to support them,” said Michele Orge, President/CEO of Second Harvest.

Since it officially became an RDO in August, The River has worked with over a dozen redistribution community partners to serve a monthly average of 900 individuals who would otherwise not have access to the pantry’s services. This initiative helps to increase access to healthy food and to minimize food waste in Dane County.

The River’s current redistribution community partners include:

  • Access Housing
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County
  • Dryden Terrace (senior and assisted living)
  • Dryhootch
  • Friends of the State Street Family
  • Hope’s Home Ministries
  • La Follete High School
  • Neighborhood House Community Center
  • Porchlight Homeless Men’s Shelter
  • Shelter from the Storm Ministries
  • Paul Lutheran Church Community Store
  • The Beacon
  • Warner Park Community Recreation Center

The River distributes a wide variety of products with these organizations to meet their specific needs. Items can include fresh produce, ready-to-eat meals, nonperishable food, snacks, beverages, baby formula, and personal hygiene items.

Each community partner serves a unique population with varying needs. Many of the organizations struggle to afford the quality and quantity of food and/or resources their constituents need to eat and live healthfully, according to Bethany Michiels, The River’s Community Coordinator.

“It is amazing to learn about and work with other organizations serving Dane County in such diverse ways. As an RDO, we can work together to efficiently and safely nourish so many more food-insecure children, seniors, veterans, low-income families, communities of color, and those experiencing homelessness,” said Michiels, who works on-on-one with each partner.

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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, online orders, freshly prepared to-go meals, and mobile lunches for children and adults in low-income neighborhoods. 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 has always been to achieve a fully nourished community.

Media Contact
Becca Carpenter
Communications Manager
The River Food Pantry

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