Earlier this month, I had the real pleasure of visiting the River Fund team at their HQ in Queens. The River Fund performs an amazing service in their community - connecting people with government benefits like food stamps and running a weekly grocery pickup service out of their headquarters building, which is also Project Leader Swami Durga Das' home. The first floor of the home has been transformed into a client-facing service delivery center, and the garage is a well-stocked food bank.
When I visited, several people were being served - getting on the official food stamp rolls, and saving hours and hours by working with The River Fund instead of applying directly to government agencies. The River Fund has a sophisticated tracking system for clients. They are each given a swipe card so The River Fund can track food preferences and other beneifits received. The information system was developed in house but will roll out to other food banks. This mentoring of other organizations is part of how The River Fund sees expanding its impact.
When Superstorm Sandy hit, many of their existing clients were affected. Without transportation to get to jobs for a week, many lost those jobs permanently. The River Fund used mobile food units and got to places where people were cut off from regular food sources. They responded quickly, working with government agencies and other organizations, to coordinate food distribution and delivery. The River Fund has seen an increase in the number of ongoing clients since the storm, as families struggle with basic necessities.
I was very impressed by The River Fund's close engagement with their community. They have a tangible can-do spirit and kind culture of service that's truly inspiring. I left my visit extremely happy that such a great organization was able to connect with meaningful funding through GlobalGiving.