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					           Q UARTERLY N EWSLET TER                                   OF   T HE R IVER F OOD P ANTRY

                                  THE RIVER
                                        V OLUME 1, I SSUE 3               M AY 21, 2006

Vision is now a Reality                                                                                  INSIDE THIS EDITION
                                                                                                         Photo Journal…. Page 2
By Andy Czerkas, Co-Director, The River Food Pantry
                                                                                                         Thank You…. Page 2
To serve the needy has been       if we would consider starting       a north side pantry in May of
on our hearts for over 10         a food pantry with the              last year, focusing on finding a   Volunteer…. Page 4
years. It’s a good thing that     church’s support. We didn’t         suitable space and financial
God has patience with us.         feel prepared to begin such a       support. We wanted to stay
                                                                                                         Still Needed…. Page 4
                                  task but the seed was planted.      on the north side so we could
We began to work with the
                                  It began to grow when our co-       continue and expand our 6
Packer and Northport
                                  director, Tom Thuemling,            year long relationships with
neighborhoods in the summer
                                  started asking us to come and       the Northport neighborhoods.
of 2000 through a Mad City
                                  help at the House of Hope
Church ministry which                                                 The support came in the form
worked with the Neighbor-
                                  Pantry on the south side.
                                                                      of grants from Mad City              RIVER FOOD
hood Learning Centers’ staff
                                  Tom had been part of that
                                                                      Church and the Housing Min-            PANTRY
                                  ministry for over a year.
to provide Christmas pre-
                                  Jenny and I finally joined in
                                                                      istries of the American Bap-           MISSION
sents, monthly dinners, school
                                  for the last half year before the
                                                                      tists in Wisconsin. In August        STATEMENT
supplies and Easter egg hunts                                         we signed the lease for the
                                  pantry closed.
for the children. While serv-                                         pantry, developed a floor plan         “to bring a
ing the neighborhoods, the        I still vividly remember the        and began construction in           message of mercy
neighborhoods served us by        first time we went there.           November.                             and hope to
opening our eyes and hearts       God touched my heart with an                                            those in need by
                                                                      The vision for “The River” has
and minds to the wonderful        incredible excitement and a
                                                                      several components. First,              providing
people living and working         certain knowledge that we                                                 NUTRITIONAL
                                                                      we want to serve people in
there. None of what we are        were supposed to pursue this.                                               BASICS AND
                                                                      need with a pantry, dinner
now doing would be possible       Serving people with compas-                                             encouragement;
                                                                      and free clothing and do so
without the blessing those        sion, love and respect became                                           to be a unifying,
                                                                      with respect and love.
neighborhoods have been in        a wonderful part of our                                                 servant hearted
our lives and the changes they    weekly routine. I know that         (Continued on page 3, “A Real-      AND COMMUNITY
have provoked in us.              Jenny and Tom felt spoken to        ity.)                                    BUILDING
                                  in the same way.
Two years ago, our pastor                                             We want to provide an envi-        expression of Jesus
asked my wife, Jenny, and me      We began to seriously explore       ronment that emphasizes per-             christ in
                                                                                                              Madison .”

The River at Work in Madison
After less than a year of plan-   cated at 2201 Darwin Road,          and organizations, this minis-
ning and construction, The        on Madison’s northeast side,        try is now helping many fami-
River Food Pantry is finally      close to the Northport and          lies every week.
open on Madison’s northeast       Packer Communities that
                                                                      The River Food Pantry is open
side.                             helped inspire this vital minis-
                                                                      every Friday evening, begin-
The River Food Pantry is a                                            ning at 5:00 P.M. when cli-
non profit, faith based, volun-   Thanks to countless volun-          ents are able to register to use
teer driven organization that     teers and the financial gener-      the food pantry.
provides meals, food pantry       osity of Mad City Church,
                                                                      (Continued on page 3, “At Work.)
items, clothing and prayer.       Housing Ministries of the
                                  American Baptists in Wiscon-        Starting at 6:00 P.M. dinner is
The River Food Pantry is lo-
                                  sin and many other individuals      served and clients are able to
 P AGE 2                                                                                                T HE R IVER

 The RIVER Photo Journal . . .

 First night’s kitchen crew!                                                    The children’s area.

                                            The serving line for Friday
                                            night's dinner.

     First night of The River Food                                           Friday night’s are very busy in
     Pantry’s opening.                                                       The River Food Pantry
                                              Time for desert!               kitchen.

 American Indoor Environments ▪ Anchor Bank ▪ Bethel Lutheran Church ▪ Capital Water Softener Inc. ▪ Circuit City ▪
Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups ▪ CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, Inc. ▪ Design Build Fire Protection ▪ Ferguson
   Bath & Kitchen Gallery ▪ Fred Miller Construction ▪ Havey Plumbing, Inc. ▪ Home Depot ▪ Housing Ministry of the
   American Baptists in WI ▪ Jim Conant Construction LLC ▪ Joe Daniels Construction Company ▪ Kessenich's, Ltd. ▪
  Lackey's Floor Covering ▪ Little Caesar's Pizza ▪ Mad City Church ▪ Madison Environmental Group ▪ Pellitteri Waste
 Systems ▪ Pete Welch Plumbing ▪ Raith Painting ▪ Rocky Rococo ▪ Pan Style Pizza ▪ Sam's Club ▪ Scott Rake Painting ▪
 Simonson Brothers of Wisconsin Inc. ▪ Soldiers of Grace, Christian Motorcycle Association ▪ Solid State Construction ▪
      St. Paul Lutheran Church ▪ St. Peter Catholic Church ▪ Staples ▪ Subway ▪ TDS Construction ▪ Zingg Design
V OLUME 1, I SSUE 3                                                                                                                     P AGE 3

AT WORK (C ONTINUED                                   FROM PAGE               1)
start using the food pantry on a        mixes, canned vegetables and               opening of the food pantry every
first come, first serve basis. The      fruit. Additionally, clients are           Friday by coming together on
food pantry stays open until every-     able to take home milk, bread,             Thursday evenings at 5:00 P.M. to
one is served.                          potatoes, onions and meat and              clean the facility, stock the pantry
                                        cheese.                                    shelves with food and make initial
News of The River Food Pantry is
                                                                                   preparations for the meal.
spreading rapidly throughout            Before or after clients use the food
Madison and Dane County. Since          pantry, they are able to enjoy a           Beginning around noon on Friday,
opening on March 31st, the Pantry       hot meal that is prepared in The           volunteers begin the process of
has served over 500 households.         River Food Pantry kitchen. Since           preparing and cooking the meal
Clients come from a variety of          opening The River, it has served           and make other preparations like
different backgrounds with differ-      over 1000 meals to individuals.            setting-up the registration area and
ent needs.                                                                         assigning volunteers to assist in        DID YOU KNOW?
                                        “We enjoy the atmosphere, the
                                                                                   various areas of the food pantry,
While some individuals are facing       people and the food. They give us
                                                                                   including the registration area,
issues like unemployment and            a lot of food to take to the rescue                                                 $100 will pay for
                                                                                   kitchen and the food pantry itself.
being underemployed, others are         mission,” said Katherine Clawson,                                                   food for up to 8
living on very little income be-        who has been coming to the River           The River Food Pantry is an action       families of 3 for 1
cause of their reliance on Social       Food Pantry for several weeks              orientated, faith based ministry
Security, disability or veteran         now.                                       that benefits the hearts of volun-
benefits.                                                                          teers and clients alike. If you or
                                        The need for an additional food                                                     $250 will under-
                                                                                   your family would like to learn
“I feel like I’m being treated like     pantry in Madison is greater than
royalty,” said one woman who has        ever before. 15% (or 33,000) of
                                                                                   more about The River Food Pan-           write one Friday
                                                                                   try, please feel free to visit any       night dinner for up
been coming to the food pantry for      all people living in Madison live
                                                                                   Friday evening after 5:00 P.M.           to 200 people.
the last few weeks.                     below the poverty level. Addi-
                                        tionally, the use of food pantries in      [END]
Clients are able to take home up to
                                        Dane and surrounding counties                                                       $500 will cover the
12-15 lbs. of canned goods and a
                                        has increased 34% since 2001.                                                       purchase of food for
variety of other food stuffs, includ-
ing cereal, canned soup, cake           Volunteers begin preparing for the                                                  ½ month of opera-
A REALITY (C ONTINUED                                    FROM PAGE                 1)                                       $1,000 will cover
sonal contact and developing of         tudes. In serving people, we get           in what makes us act this way.           the purchase of food
relationships. We always want to        to know them and see them also as          Some know and others don’t that          for a full month of
encourage our pantry clients and        children of God, as brothers and           we do this because of the joy God        operation.
point them in the direction of          sisters.                                   has put in our hearts. Our volun-
growth. We accept all as they are,                                                 teers spend time eating with cli-
                                        That was the vision and it is now a                                                 $5,000 will cover
just as God accepts us as we are.                                                  ents or just sit and visit for awhile.
                                        reality.                                                                            the cost of all opera-
It’s not our job to judge them,                                                    We offer to pray for people at the
change them, or push religion at        We have been open for a month              beginning of the evening but never       tional expenses and
them. We are there to serve.            and a half and have grown by leaps         push prayer on anyone.                   the purchase of food
                                        and bounds. We serve over 85                                                        for one month.
A second component is our service                                                  Our volunteers can’t stop smiling.
                                        families each Friday night. Many
to the churches of Madison. We                                                     Several have told me: “I had a ter-
                                        have been there each week and we
want to provide a vehicle for                                                      rible week but this makes it all
                                        are getting to know them, call
churches to act, in unity, as the                                                  worthwhile.” “I get energy from
                                        them by name and speak with
Church. The Church that goes                                                       this place.” “This is the best part of
                                        them each week. A number of
where needed, to serve people and                                                  the week for me.” “My heart
                                        pantry users are also volunteers,
the community and will partner                                                     started to sing when I got here and
                                        an ideal situation.
with the community in acts of                                                      it hasn’t stopped.” I think that’s
service. We can put aside our           People take note that we care              true for many of us. Come join
doctrinal differences and focus on      about them. We get hugs every              us, see for yourself. [END]
the core commandments of loving         week as people respond to love
God and loving our neighbors.           and compassion. Some have told
On an individual basis, the process     us that they come mostly for the           I think that’s true for many of us.
of serving transforms us, lets God      friendly atmosphere, dinner and            Come join us, see for yourself.
change our hearts, minds and atti-      fellowship. Others are interested
V OLUME 1, I SSUE 3                                                                                           T HE BACK PAGE

  VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES                                 ITEMS STILL NEEDED
There are a number of ways you can help in      The River Food Pantry still needs a number
addition to volunteering on Thursday or         of items that will help make our facility fully
Friday evenings. The River Food Pantry is       functional. If you are able to donate one or       “The presence of God
looking for individuals interested in joining   more items, please contact Andy or Jenny           is in this place. Peo-
our Finance and Communications Work             Czerkas at (608) 442-8815 or riverfoodpan-            ple can sense the
Groups.                                                                       genuine care that
                                                Thank you!                                         these people have for
If you have experience in grant writing or           - Financial support. (Rent is $2,700 a
would like to help reach out and develop        -      month, utilities are $500+, food costs,         John Rolfsmeyer,
financial support for the Pantry among busi-    -      etc.)
nesses and individuals, please e-mail Andy                                                         Volunteer, The River Food
                                                     - 8 ceiling fans
Czerkas at                                                                        Pantry
                                                     - Data projector
COMMUNICATIONS WORK GROUP                            - Patio blocks for outside patio
This group will be responsible for develop-          - Really big pots (4 gallon +)
ing a quarterly newsletter and other materi-
als in order to keep friends of The River            - Grocery carts, 12 or more.
Food Pantry informed of the latest news and           - Canned tuna and meat
events. If you have a writing or graphic arts                                                       “Blessed is he whose help is
background, please e-mail John Plumitis at            - Canned fruit
                                                                                                      the God of Jacob, whose                              - Breakfast cereal                              hope is in the LORD his
    Thanks again for your support!                                                                  God, the Maker of heaven
                                                                                                      and earth, the sea, and
                                                                                                     everything in them— the
                                                                                                   LORD, who remains faith-
 HELP THE RIVER FOOD PANTRY!                                                                       ful forever. He upholds the
                                                                                                    cause of the oppressed and
 We can always use your help! You may drop this card off by The River
                                                                                                     gives food to the hungry.
 Food Pantry table on Sunday or mail this card to the address below.
 Please visit our web site: Thanks!
                                                                                                      The LORD sets prisoners
                                                                                                    free, the LORD gives sight
 First Name: ____________________ Last Name: ______________________                                   to the blind, the LORD
 Street Address: _________________________________________________
                                                                                                       lifts up those who are
                                                                                                      bowed down, the LORD
 City: ____________________ State: __________ Zip: __________________                                   loves the righteous.”
 Best Phone Number: ________________ E-mail: ______________________
                                                                                                        Psalm 146: 5-8
 How do you want to help?

      Contribute            Fundraising             Newsletter          Meal Preparation
      Available Thursday night to clean & stock the food pantry.
      Available Friday night to help with the meal, the pantry or wherever needed.

     If you have any questions, please contact Andy or Jenny Czerkas at
               (608) 442-8815 or
                   The River Food Pantry ▪ 2201 Darwin Rd ▪ Madison, WI 53704

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