The River Food Pantry Receives $50,000 Grant from Great Lakes | The River Food Pantry
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Madison, WI- On Thursday, August 24 The River Food Pantry was the proud recipient of a $50,000 Brighter Futures Grant awarded by Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates.

In honor of celebrating its 50thanniversary, Great Lakes awarded grants to nonprofit organizations making a difference in the communities where its nine offices are located. Employees of the Madison office awarded two Brighter Futures Grants, providing The River Food Pantry along with Operation Fresh Start with $50,000 each.

The money awarded to The River Food Pantry will be used for their mobile lunch program, Madison Unites to Nourish Children at Home (MUNCH). The River began MUNCH in June 2016 to address a basic need for both social and educational growth through a mobile, neighborhood program that brings lunch to children and teens. With the $50,000 Brighter Futures Grant, The River has purchased a new and larger cargo van to expand MUNCH to feed more kids in more low income neighborhoods.


MUNCH began by distributing about 30 lunches per day. Now, the program is in eight Northside neighborhoods providing over 450 lunches a day. There is a strong correlation between lacking nutrition, poverty and a lack of success in school. The MUNCH program is seeking to ease the negative impact of poverty with non-school day meals to help close the achievement gap between low income students and those that are not.

“This grant will expand our mobile lunch program into more Northside neighborhoods to feed more kids on weekends and non-school days,” said Executive Director Charles McLimans. “We can make a difference in the hunger gap and the achievement gap and equip our local kids for a brighter future.”

Brighter Futures Grants are an extension of the philanthropy work done by Great Lakes, which is dedicated to helping more students from low-income households, students of color, and first-generation students get into and through college so they can go on to successful lives and help build strong communities.

“At Great Lakes we believe in ‘changing lives for the better,’ and we chose to celebrate our 50th anniversary by expanding our level of engagement within our local communities,” said Amy Kerwin, Vice President – Community Investments.

“In Madison, we are impressed how The River Food Pantry is combating food insecurity for children and families, and with the work Operation Fresh Start is doing to overcome the achievement gap and racial disparities. We’re excited to help both organizations make an even bigger impact.”

The River is excited to be working with north side Madison residents directly within their neighborhoods, while also providing an opportunity for community members to get involved. For more information on The River or MUNCH, visit


 Photo by Katie Wing, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates.

About The River Food Pantry

Serving Dane County since 2006, The River Food Pantry is the areas busiest food pantry offering free groceries, meals, and clothing to anyone who comes for help. Located in a warehouse just off Northport Drive and Packers Avenue, The River is surrounded by low-income neighborhoods and subsidized senior housing—exactly where we’re needed the most. The River began a mobile lunch program for children and teens in the low income neighborhoods surrounding the food pantry in June 2016. Nutritious packed lunches are distributed in the neighborhoods on weekends and other non-school days. For additional information, visit

About Great Lakes

Since 1967 Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation & Affiliates has been committed to helping students nationwide realize the dream of a college education through our work as a student loan servicer, guarantor and education philanthropy. We have 2,000 employees at nine offices across the country: Aberdeen, South Dakota; Boscobel, Eau Claire, Madison and Stevens Point, Wisconsin; Eagan, Minnesota; Indianapolis, Indiana; Plano, Texas; and Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Our group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected education philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, we have committed nearly $225 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, low-income students, and first-generation students. For additional information, visit

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