The River Launches Free Food Delivery Program for the Homebound | The River Food Pantry
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River Delivers seeks more volunteers to help meet high demand for home deliveries

(Left to right) JJ Meyer, River Delivers Coordinator, helps River Runners, Judy Fisher and Mark Allen, load their car with groceries to deliver to those who are facing food insecurity and unable to leave home due to COVID-19.

MADISON, Wis. — November 2, 2020 — The River Food Pantry has officially launched a free contactless food delivery program, called River Delivers. This new service is for those who are homebound and do not qualify for other delivery services.

“COVID-19 is preventing so many individuals and families in Dane County from accessing stable, nutritious food and supplies they need to survive, let alone stay healthy,” said Rhonda Adams, Interim Executive Director of The River. “River Delivers is one more way The River can provide household stability and ensure no one in our community goes hungry.”

Since March, dozens of volunteers, called “River Runners,” have provided over 1,000 contactless deliveries to more than 100 Dane County households facing food insecurity. Individuals and families that receive deliveries are those who cannot visit a store or pantry due to transportation, health concerns, unemployment and childcare needs.

River Runners deliver curbside groceries and supplies, as well as nutritious meals prepared at The River for each family member through FAM (Family At-Home Meals). “We realized early in the pandemic that we had to meet families’ needs for not only groceries but also for healthy meals to eat together at home,” Adams said.

“River Delivers makes us realize how essential The River is,” said Mark Allen and Judy Fisher, who make three regular deliveries every Thursday after volunteering in The River’s market. “Most of our regular deliveries have children, who get really excited when we bring the food. Sometimes they even dance around their front yard.”

The River schedules River Runners to pick up groceries during the pantry’s curbside distribution hours of Tuesday–Friday from 10am–3pm. Volunteers call clients to indicate when the delivery is on the way and again when it has been dropped off. The food and supplies are left at the outermost door of each client’s home or apartment building. Volunteers are not allowed to enter any buildings to protect the health of both volunteers and clients.

“It’s very organized and the routes are well-coordinated. It only takes us about 30 minutes to do our regular deliveries. They are very grateful,” Allen and Fisher said. “We’re on call for other emergency deliveries too.”

In addition to groceries and meals, River Delivers can provide other essential items, like diapers, formula and specific dietary options, to households upon request. The River screens each participant to determine their particular needs.

“I feel so blessed each time I get a delivery,” said a single parent of four children who uses River Delivers. “It makes my struggles a little more manageable. I never thought I would ever be in a position to need help like this. Thank you!”

To qualify to receive deliveries through River Delivers, participants must:

  • Live in Dane County
  • Not qualify for established delivery services, such as Dry Hootch or Food Bridge
  • Not have a form of transportation to The River
  • Not have a friend, family member or neighbor to transport groceries from The River for them

Details about receiving deliveries through River Delivers can be found at

More volunteers are necessary to meet the need for free food delivery to those who cannot leave home throughout Dane County. Volunteers can sign up to deliver every week or on an as-needed basis. The River works around volunteers’ preferred delivery locations and availability.

Visit to become a River Runner.

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About The River Food Pantry
Serving Dane County since 2006, The River Food Pantry provides food, resources and faith to build a stronger community. The River’s COVID-19 Emergency Food Fund provides free curbside groceries, mobile lunches for children, and to-go meals for families to enjoy at home. As South Central Wisconsin’s busiest food pantry, The River serves over 1,000 households every week in pursuit of its vision: a fully nourished community.

Media Contact
Becca Carpenter
Communications Manager
The River Food Pantry

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