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After another tough year, more Madison families use food pantry services

The River Food Pantry distributes extra food to meet a higher demand during “No Hunger Holidays”
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 5:42 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 30, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Feed The Children and The River Food Pantry held an extra drive through on Thursday to make sure people start 2022 with a fridge full of food.

“Food is a right and not a privilege,” The River Food Pantry Executive Director Rhonda Adams said. “We can do without a lot of things but we cannot do without food.”

Adams staff would usually be off the day before New Year’s Eve, but Feed The Children asked if they could contribute food and toys for an additional donation day--duly named No Hunger Holidays.

She explained that extra days of service are necessary to meet the growing needs of Dane County community members who cannot afford to pay for food, clothing or gifts for their children.

“We’re working hard to get rid of the stigma of what it means to come to a food pantry,” Adams said. “We think we’re pretty cool people to hangout with here for a little while. Our staff and our volunteers are very compassionate and very generous to our community so we’re here for those that need us.”

Madison Police Department Officer Howard Payne switched his shift so he could help handout meat, fresh produce and cleaning products to families driving through the food pantry.

“It feels good,” Payne said. “It felt warmer out here not quite Florida weather but definitely warmer since we’ve been out here moving around.”

He said wanted to help families feel comfortable when they received their items.

“Most people are super super happy about the fact that we’re even doing it,” Payne said. “I think it also gives a different impression about where you can get help when you probably didn’t even think about it on a real deep level.”

The River Food Pantry Communications Manager Becca Carpenter said No Hunger Holidays served 275 families and 900 individuals during the three hour event.

Click here to volunteer at the food pantry. Adams said they are always looking for more people to help feed the community.

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