MADISON, Wis. — Every Tuesday and Thursday, when the veterans Dryhootch van rolls up, River Food Pantry Executive Director Rhonda Adams still makes the time to come out and chat.
She said she’s grateful she can help former armed service members fight food insecurity.
“I have a little extra special place in my heart for the veterans because I too am a veteran,” Adams said.
The 21-year veteran runs her pantry with military precision, and that’s important this time of the year.
“This week… has always been the busiest week all year long,” Adams said.
That’s why the now-retired Army Master Sergeant enlisted her pantry coordinator Jon Clark for a special mission. The duo personally pulled together the Thanksgiving feast and weekly groceries for the Madison Dryhootch veteran community.
“I go out and say hello as many times as I can, just as to greet them and hope to take away that, that stigma of what it’s like to be coming, you know, coming to a food pantry,” Adams said.
She said her team loves to proudly serve those who have served.
“I take a lot of stuff from her books and apply it to my everyday operation,” Clark said regarding why he appreciates Adams’ nearly decade-long effort to help the veterans.
And veterans feel the meaning behind the effort too.
“I am so grateful for this to be available to the veterans that anyone might use,” Dryhootch Army veteran David Walgenbach said.
While inside, Adams showed off the River Food Pantry “Vets Wall.” She said her goal was to always set the right example.
“[To be] welcoming and I want them to see that firsthand, that it starts with me,” Adams said.
Dryhootch and River Food Pantry are teaming up for “Giving Tuesday.” If you’d like to support both nonprofits, you can do so here: