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

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Last updated:  June 1, 2021, 8:20 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 Pick-Up: Tuesday–Friday

Day Hours
Tuesday 10:00am–3:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am–3:00pm
Thursday 10:00am–3:00pm
Friday 10:00am–3:00pm

The River will not allow shoppers inside of the facility. Instead, prepared boxes of groceries, including perishable and non-perishable foods, will be available for pick up curbside. Inside each box, we have selected a variety of items that we hope you and your household will be able to use. If there are items that you cannot use, we ask that you please share them with someone rather than throwing it away or returning it.

The following system will be in place for client pickup:

  1. Enter through the Packers Avenue entrance and proceed to The River.
  2. A volunteer or staff member will ask you the basic questions and ask to see your ID, all while you stay in your car.
  3. A volunteer or staff member will then put boxes of food in your car.

If you have specific dietary needs, please tell one of our volunteers or employees onsite or by emailing We will do our best to accommodate your needs.

If you are not feeling well and need food, we encourage you to stay home. Please email and ask about setting up a proxy shopper.

What to bring to The River to receive boxed groceries

If you are a registered client at The River…
Please bring the white registration card that The River has issued you. If you do not have your registration card when you visit, please bring an ID.

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. 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.

Once you have your registration card, please bring it with you each time you visit
so that we can check you in fast and keep things moving!

PLEASE NOTE: When your card expires, we will need to verify that all the information we have is still current.

River Delivers: Tuesday–Friday

The River has launched a free contactless food delivery program, called River Delivers, 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 healthy, ready-to-eat meals for families to share in the safety of their homes. These balanced meals are portioned to meet the needs of different family sizes with vegetarian alternatives. The menu changes each week to include a variety of nutrient-dense foods. 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 mobile lunch program: Saturday–Monday

MUNCH will deliver pre-bagged lunches to children and households in neighborhoods throughout the Northside. See the schedule here. The River will not provide MUNCH lunches onsite on Fridays.

Canceled Services

  • Community Meals
  • Caring Clothing Closet
  • Friday Night Van Rides

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 our COVID-19 Emergency Food Fund

Our COVID-19 Emergency Food Fund is helping to provide:

  • Boxes of groceries, including perishable and non-perishable food, for hundreds of local households to pick up curbside at The River.
  • Pre-bagged lunches for children delivered through MUNCH—The River’s mobile lunch program—to 9 low-income neighborhoods 6 days a week.
  • Ready-to-eat meals for families to take home through our newest program, called FAM (Family At-Home Meals).

By supporting this fund, you will help the most vulnerable members of our community receive the resources they need during this challenging time. No donation is too small—95 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.

Volunteer (if you are healthy and not at high risk)

The River seeks healthy volunteers who are not in the higher-risk demographic to help at The River with food packaging and distribution, as well as client registration. Volunteers are also needed to help with FAM (Family At-Home Meals) and MUNCH lunch production and distribution. 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 door of The River (2201 Darwin Rd) on Mondays from 9am–1pm and Tuesdays–Fridays from 1pm–3pm. Learn more here.

Take this short survey!

The River is conducting a survey and we would greatly appreciate your participation by answering a few questions about your experiences at The River. Your feedback is important to us. Please follow this link to complete a short survey.

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