Thanks to the many kind and selfless people in the community who gave the Gift of Gobble last year. Over 750 families, including Angela and her son, Thor, received a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner. Photo by The River Staff

By Hannah Becker
The River Food Pantry

For the past 11 years, The River Food Pantry has been keeping spirits high and stomachs full.

Ten-year-old Cassie and her father have been visiting The River almost every week for the past year. Originally from Michigan, they moved to Madison to be closer to family and start a new life. Unfortunately, her father struggled with finding a job, and between paying his school loans and trying to afford rent, they ended up desperately needing assistance.

“I like coming here because everyone is nice to me and I get to pick out the dessert,” Cassie said. “Oh, and I get to go shopping for clothes!”

Her father said they are very lucky to have The River, and the support of others helps keep his spirits up. “Everyone here just loves Cassie,” he said, smiling down at her. “We come here not just for the food but for the positive vibes. We leave here feeling optimistic and hopeful.”

Over 650 individuals and families visit The River every week for groceries, clothing and hot meals in a safe environment where everyone feels respected and dignified.

As we enter this time of thanksgiving and celebration, please consider helping individuals and families enjoy Thanksgiving at their homes by donating a turkey (or two or three) in the month of November, or by giving a monetary donation to The River’s Gift of Gobble. Donations will be accepted at the pantry or online; please specify “turkey” on your check memo and in the designation box when making your donation online. A $30 donation will provide one family with a turkey and all the fixings to make a delicious home-cooked meal for Thanksgiving.

Help The River spread the word and share the Gift of Gobble with your churches, businesses, friends and neighbors. If you have questions, visit our website at or send an email to