Throughout the school year, the River Bend Food Bank partners with school and non-profit after-school programs to provide children with food to take home over the weekend.

Each week, our partner sites receive bags of food for the children participating in the program. The bags of food are discreetly placed in a backpack and sent home with each child on Fridays to sustain them through the weekend. The program is operated with respect for the children’s confidentiality.

If you have any questions regarding the Backpack Program, please contact derickson@riverbendfoodbank.org.


In coordination with local schools, River Bend Food Bank operates school pantries. These pantries are safe places within a local school where students and their families are able to access a pantry stocked with items directly from our warehouse. All families who attend the pantry have student(s) at the school. The goal of the program is to offset food insecurity for children at a critical point in their development and help stabilize their families.

Studies have shown that food insecurity amongst school-age children leads to behavioral issues, more health problems, and lower academic achievement. Also, developmental impairments are more common in children who deal with food insecurity. In order to assist this vulnerable demographic, the school pantries are open twice a month where families can receive food. We could not run this program without the support of our schools and volunteers.


This program begins at our warehouse with “repackaging parties” where volunteers assemble boxes with fresh produce for delivery to seniors in low-income elderly housing. Our vans deliver the boxes filled with items such as cucumbers, tomatoes, apples, and oranges for distribution.

Food Bank volunteers then travel to the site to unload the food and help the residents get the boxes back to their apartments. Sadly, seniors are becoming a fast-growing population of food-insecure people in our service area and are often reluctant to reach out for help.

According to the latest hunger studies through AginginPlace.org, 1 in 6 older adults (65 years or older) faces the threat of hunger.


There are senior food pantries located in low-income senior apartment complexes. Volunteers (often seniors who live at the pantry site) stock, organize, and distribute the food to eligible seniors.

Sadly, seniors are becoming a fast-growing population of chronically hungry people in our service area and are often reluctant to reach out for help. Many seniors travel to a nearby pantry via the bus system; however, many individuals cannot ride the bus because of disabilities or cannot easily transport food on and off the bus.

According to the latest hunger studies through AginginPlace.org, 1 in 6 older adults (65 years or older) faces the threat of hunger.

Food Assistance Help

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP gives people struggling with low household income extra help buying food such as fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. SNAP is funded by the federal government and distributed by individual states.

River Bend Food Bank can help determine if you are eligible to receive SNAP if you live in our service area in Illinois or Iowa.

Get Help Applying for SNAP


Our Mobile Food Pantries are held an average of nine times per month and travel throughout our service area where the need is greatest. Each Mobile Food Pantry distribution provides about 10,000 meals and feeds hundreds of individuals. All the food is passed out in about two hours in a farmer’s market style of distribution.

Senior Director of Programs: Diane Erickson, derickson@riverbendfoodbank.org, 563-345-6490 ext. 203

For times and locations of mobile food pantries, please call 563-345-6490 option 1


The Student Hunger Drive is a six-week friendly competition between area high schools that meets a significant community need – hunger. Students collect items in a variety of ways, from going door-to-door in the community to holding special events to raising money that they then use to purchase food.  Students also package the collected food and deliver it to River Bend Food Bank’s warehouse.

In addition to collecting food for those in need, the Drive gives students the opportunity to develop organizational and life skills as they work together to accomplish a common goal. The Drive has instilled philanthropy and volunteerism in a generation of high school students for over thirty years.

For more information regarding the Student Hunger Drive, please contact Rachel Grewe, Programs Coordinator, at rgrewe@riverbendfoodbank.org or 563-345-6490 ext. 215.


The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. This program significantly increases the amount and variety of food that food pantries and soup kitchens can provide to those in need.

River Bend Food Bank is the sole non-profit distributer for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.

Each state operates this program through their respective Departments of Human Services. In Illinois, the Food Bank delivers product to feeding sites in 18 counties. In Iowa we serve five counties.

Participation in the program is available to food pantries that have regular hours, have food available on an emergency basis, and have privately donated food available in addition to USDA commodities. Soup kitchens must serve prepared meals to homeless, transient, or other needy people. Eligibility guidelines for pantry use is 185% of the poverty level. Self-declaration is the method for establishing eligibility for USDA food at food pantries. People who receive prepared meals at soup kitchens are considered to be needy, and do not have to prove their monthly income.

To inquire about your agency’s eligibility and participation in our USDA programs, please contact bevans@riverbendfoodbank.org.



River Bend Foodbank relies on the generosity of its supporters to help fight hunger in eastern lowa and western Illinois. Each year, over 22 million meals are missed in our service area. Your financial support is essential to bridging the meal gap in our community.



Volunteers are crucial to the operation of River Bend Foodbank. Without volunteers, it would not be possible to collect, sort, and repack all of the food that comes through our warehouse every day as well as distribute food through our various programs. Together we can solve hunger™.



If you or a loved one is hungry, please let us help you. Use our website to locate a food pantry or meal site in your area.