COVID-19 Updates - The River Food Pantry | The River Food Pantry

COVID-19 Updates

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Last updated:  October 11, 2021, 11:00 am

The River plans to continue to operate for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates will continue to be made on this webpage, social media, and voicemail system as necessary. Questions and concerns can be directed to or (608) 442-8815.

Curbside Groceries: Tuesday–Friday

Clients can pick up free curbside groceries from The River once a week. Our groceries include non-perishables, perishables (e.g., fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat, frozen items) and other essential supplies (e.g., masks, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, paper products, diapers, formula). We also provide special dietary items, such as gluten-free boxes, upon request. Each household takes home an average of 120 pounds of groceries per visit.

See our curbside grocery distribution schedule here.

What to bring to The River to receive groceries

If you are a registered client at The River…
Please bring an ID each time you come for groceries.

If you are visiting The River for the first time…
All you need to bring is an ID for the head of the household. You’ll receive an emailed link to fill out full registration for the full household (here). If you need assistance with the form, give us a call at (608) 442-8815 and we will be happy to pre-register you over the phone. Then we’ll ask that you bring in a piece of mail (proof of address) and a form of identification for each household member on your next visit.

River Delivers: Tuesday–Friday

River Delivers is a free contactless food delivery program for those who are homebound and do not qualify for other delivery services. Learn more here.

FAM (Family At-Home Meals): Tuesday–Friday

The River’s curbside meal program, called FAM (Family At-Home Meals), provides freshly prepared to-go meals for families to share in the safety of their homes. Each client can now pick up meals for everyone in their household up to four times each week instead of only once. See the schedule here.

Munch: Monday–Saturday

Our mobile lunch program, Munch, delivers free healthy lunches to children and adults in neighborhoods throughout the Northside. See the schedule here.

ePantry: Wednesday–Friday

The River has launched a free online grocery ordering system, called ePantry, for households to use once a month. Learn more here.

Food Bridge: food delivery for homebound seniors

The River continues to work with NewBridge Madison and RSVP of Dane County to operate Food Bridge: a free monthly food delivery program for low-income older adults in Madison and Monona. Learn how the program works, how to receive food, and how to become a volunteer here.

Clothing and houseware donations not accepted

Due to COVID-19, The River canceled our clothing distribution. Therefore, we no longer accept donations of clothing, toys, housewares, etc. We have cleaned out The River’s Caring Closet to make room for more food to feed more people. However, The River will accept your donations of food and personal care items.

The following safety protocols are in place:

  • Asking all staff and volunteers to be diligent in washing their hands upon entering our building and before touching any product.
  • Having hand-sanitizing stations and disinfecting cleaning spray available. Volunteers are assisting in wiping down all surfaces throughout the day and have access to gloves.
  • Changing procedures to decrease or eliminate handing things to each other.
  • Getting as much food and supplies, as able, to people in our community.
  • Asking volunteers to stay home if ill, and reminding clients of alternate options to receive services if they are ill.


Support The River

The River is South Central Wisconsin’s busiest food pantry. Now more than ever, The River needs your support to feed thousands of Dane County households facing food insecurity. Throughout this pandemic, many have come to The River for the first time. Many were “just getting by” and circumstances related to employment, health issues, and finances have thrust them into dire circumstances.

By supporting The River, you will help the most vulnerable members of our community receive the food and resources they need to survive. No donation is too small—97.5 cents of every dollar donated goes to our programs and services.

Give Now

The River Food Pantry is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization, and your gift is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.


The River always needs volunteers to help with our growing list of programs. Sign up to volunteer here.

Groups: If you would like to volunteer as a group, please contact for more information.

Donate food & hygiene products

The River will again accept in-kind donations of food and personal care items, but not clothing or housewares. Donations can be dropped off at the back of The River (2201 Darwin Rd). See drop-off hours and most-needed items here.

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