Description & History

Background/History: The River Fund was founded in 1991 to provide food and gifts for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Donated goods were distributed to residents in long term health care centers by volunteers and special events were planned for holidays.

Several years later the services were expanded to provide centers in Manhattan, and Brooklyn.

In 1995 a food program was developed to provide take away lunches and bags of food staples into remote food insufficient communities in Brooklyn and Queens serving the hungry, the homeless, the disabled, individuals, families and seniors.

These services were distributed on the streets and in city parks and to soup kitchens that needed additional meals.

As demand for food increased, The River Fund became a member of the Food Bank of New York City.

In a short time volunteers became certified food handlers which helped qualify us for additional city and federal funding.

In 2001 we became a food pantry providing weekly pantry bags and distribution of personal care items, clothing and back to school supplies while continuing to provide services to people with disabilities living in long term health care facilities.

In 2008 we partnered with Love Bread, Brooklyn and began implementing the ETO software program developed by Robin Hood Foundation to assist people living in poverty to access support programs that help move them to self-sufficiency and less dependence of emergency services.

Now all of our pantry clients are being counseled on available services.

Many client become dedicated volunteers by moving off the line to serve as a way to express their gratitude for the help they received when they were in hard times.

Programs and Partnerships: Our programs are aimed at enhancing our clients lives based on their needs.

Most clients are living month to month making choices dictated by their incomes.

We focus on helping with their most urgent needs whether that be supplying healthy food or getting them assistance for other expenses and needs. Through continued support and developing relationships that go beyond our on site programs, we are building community based on trust and honor of the dignity of each client.

Emergency Food P antry: Provides pantry bag distribution weekly in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Pantry bags provide several days supply of meats, produce, bread, healthy snack, forzen vegetables in various combinations according to stock.

Majority of product is supplied by Food Bank of NYC, TEFAP and EFSP.

Major donors of gifts in kind include Trader Joe?s, Herr?s Chips.

Local clubs and businesses contribute also.

Volunteers assemble pre-packaged bags while by choice product is also available utilizing the table method of choice.

Products are selected according to the pyramind recommendations of balanced nutrients for adults, children and special diet needs.

Distribution is every Saturday from 9am-11am.

Client provide appropriate ID to receive food.

Clients come from referrals by agencies, the food bank, and by word of mouth.

Lite lunches are provided at each distribution along with beverages.

When available additional goods such as clothing, personal care items and nutritional supplements are included.

Vitamin Relief: In partnership with Nourish America, monthly supplies of multiple vitamins are distributed to children and seniors.

Frequently additional supplements such as women?s vitamins, nutrition bars and various vitamins are provided.

ETO and counseling/case management: This program was developed for St. John?s Bread and Life by the Robin Hood Foundation.

As a data base system, ETO lists city wide programs that assist people in poverty in becoming self sufficient.

Our food pantry clients data is entered and then matched to programs they can qualify for.

A case manager provides them with contact information and follows up with each client.

To date we have successfully helped hundreds of clients gain access to benefits they did not know were availble to them.

The system also allows us to quantify stats for outcome analysis of our food pantry program.

About the organization

The River Fund New York

Diane Uma Corveddu
Project Director
(646) 256-8591
Swami Durga Das
Executive Director