Service FAQs - The River Food Pantry | The River Food Pantry
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Frequently asked questions

Can I receive groceries?

To qualify to receive groceries from The River, you must:

What do I need to bring to The River to receive groceries?

If you are a registered customer 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 ext. 0 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.

Can someone else pick up food for me?

If you are unable to come to The River, you can send someone as a proxy to pick up curbside groceries and meals for you. Please send someone with either your River card or ID and a dated note stating they can pick up groceries for you. This can also be in the form of a text message with a photo of your River card or ID.

What if I can’t visit The River, but I need food? Will you deliver food to my house?

The River now has a free contactless food delivery program, called River Delivers, for those who are homebound and do not qualify for other delivery services! Deliveries are provided up to once a week and include groceries and other essential items, like diapers and specific dietary options, upon request. See qualifications and sign up for River Delivers here.

Low-income older adults in Madison and Monona may be eligible to participate in our free monthly food delivery program, called Food Bridge. Learn more here.

When will customers be allowed back inside The River to shop for groceries and/or eat a meal?

While we miss coming together as a community, The River no longer has the space available for people to shop for groceries and/or eat a meal.

Throughout the pandemic, The River made significant changes to the layout of the warehouse and kitchen to meet the historic demand for curbside distribution of food and resources. As a result of these changes, it is no longer possible to provide inside grocery shopping and sit-down meals in The River’s current building.

We will continue to distribute weekly groceries via curbside pickup and delivery, offering as much choice as possible. We will also continue to provide freshly prepared to-go meals for the whole household to enjoy at home.

With support from our community, The River will continue to search for a larger space to serve more people, recover more food, and add more resources to lift our neighbors who are facing extra challenges right now.

Thank you for your understanding!

How often can I pick up groceries and meals at The River?

You can pick up groceries once a week. A “week” at The River starts on Tuesday and ends on Friday. You can pick up groceries one time during that period.

FAM (Family At-Home Meals) serves freshly prepared to-go meals Tuesday–Friday. You are welcome to come all 4 days to pick up meals. 

Do I have to bring my verification every time?

Once we have an account set up for you, all you need is your River Market card each time. Cards are good for one year from the date of issue. If you have not received a card yet, please let us know.

If you do not have your card with you, please bring an ID.

What if my address or household size changes?
Just let us know and we will make the change! If your address changes, be sure to bring proof of your new address (mail addressed to you and dated within the last three months). If your household size increases, be sure to bring identification for the new person. If your household size decreases, the head of household can request that we remove members from the account.
Do you give rides?

No, rides home from The River are no longer provided due to COVID-19.

Where can I get information on other food pantries or resources?

Call United Way at 2-1-1 and/or check out the Dane County food resources listed here.

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