Dane County Investing $1.5 Million to Kickstart The River Food Pantry’s Expansion Project

May 18, 2023
Ariana Vruwink, 608-267-8823
County Executive

Today, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi joined The River Food Pantry Executive Director Rhonda Adams, along with staff, volunteers, and community supporters to announce Dane County’s investment of $1.5 million to kickstart The River Food Pantry’s efforts to build a new and bigger home. A resolution to approve this financial assistance for The River is expected to be approved at tonight’s County Board meeting. The funding will help the pantry grow and meet increasing needs in the community at a time when demand for food assistance remains great.

“Lines at pantries across our community remain long, and I’m grateful for The River’s resilience to consistently work to put healthy, nutritious food on the table for so many families,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “All of this takes room for staff and volunteers to carry out their work. The River Food Pantry’s expansion project is much needed and will allow the organization to grow with our community.”

The total cost of the expansion project is estimated to be $7.9 million and will be funded through a public-private partnership. The River will be starting plans to acquire land and construct a building that can host the wide variety of food systems work the organization does. Dane County’s 2023 budget includes $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to support the expansion, which will add up to about 25,000 square feet of space for The River.

“We are deeply grateful for this generous grant from Dane County because it will enable The River to improve how we serve our neighbors going through difficult times, especially as the cost-of-living increases and the availability of publicly-supported, food assistance programs declines in our area,” said Rhonda Adams, Executive Director of The River. “The County’s support will make a significant difference as we finalize plans for a new facility and will help us connect with more people who share our passion to alleviate hunger in our community.”

In 2022, The River provided over 2.9 million pounds of food and supplies, 80,022 to-go meals, and recovered approximately 1.5 million pounds of food and supplies. The organization served nearly 13,000 people and had 1,674 new families register for the first time. None of these efforts would have been possible without the 37,615 volunteer hours logged by over 2,300 volunteers and thousands of generous donations from individuals and community partners.

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