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

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Last updated:  April 7, 2020, 12:05 pm

The River plans to continue to operate for the duration of this community emergency. 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 are visiting The River for the first time, please bring an ID for ONLY the head of the household.

When operations return to normal at The River, you will need to provide IDs and proof of address for each member in your household in order to shop. Examples of documents for household member ID’s include: insurance cards, school IDs, birth certificates, Social Security cards, vaccination records, etc. Every visit thereafter please bring only the white registration card that you will be issued.

MUNCH mobile lunch program: Monday–Saturday

MUNCH will deliver pre-bagged lunches six days a week to children in the standard neighborhoods, as well as Kennedy Heights. 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.

In-kind donations not accepted

To minimize the chain of possession of contact with products, we prefer not to accept at this time onsite donations of food, clothing, hygiene products, etc. Monetary donations will allow us to purchase in bulk the specific food and supplies that the community needs.

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.

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.

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 MUNCH lunch production and distribution. Sign up to volunteer here.

Message for volunteers ages 60+: We are asking those ages 60 and above to take a break from volunteering with The River for now. We are limiting the number of people at The River at any one time. We hope you can understand the precautions we are taking for the sake of our staff and for you! We can’t wait for the day when we can all laugh again together and work side-by-side while assisting our clients inside The River.

We are currently NOT scheduling groups of volunteers.

Second Harvest Foodbank also needs healthy volunteers to pack Care Boxes that The River is distributing curbside. Sign up 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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