Mission Statement

Rock River Valley Pantry fights hunger in the community by providing nutritious food to those in urgent need.

Core Values

To serve our clients with respect and dignity,
To provide quality food for balanced meals,
To be accountable to our donors,
To engage volunteers, and
To educate the community regarding hunger issues.
Not For Profit Status
The Rock River Valley Pantry is recognized as a 501(c) by the State of Illinois.


In 1973, a Rock Valley College student, concerned about hunger, conceived the idea of collecting food and distributing it to needy families in the Rockford community. During preliminary planning of a food pantry, a Board of Directors was formed. This group spent one year researching food distribution programs. The Board of Directors was comprised of five persons including a minister, a nursing director, a United Way representative, a sociology professor, and the college student, Stanley Campbell, who would become the first (volunteer) director of the Pantry. When the Rock River Valley Pantry opened in 1974, it was run exclusively by volunteers and food was supported mainly from churches. During the first year, 1745 individuals were provided emergency food.

Today, the Pantry is operated by three full time and four part time staff members along with the help of volunteers who provide thousands of hours of service. The Pantry receives food and financial support from all segments of the community including churches, businesses, individuals and organizations.

Executive Director’s Message

“As the number of Winnebago County citizens that are living at or under the poverty levels increases, so does the demand for the Rock River Valley Pantry’s services. It continues to be our mission to provide a healthy, nutritionally balanced emergency food relief program to families, individuals, and elderly who are in need of assistance and you can be a part of that effort!

Currently 40% of all our clients are children, and 6% are over the age of 65, while families are our largest overall demographic group. The impact on hungry children can have a lasting effect. Children that are hungry can suffer from cognitive development in addition to experiencing healthy issues related to hunger. In this community we have low-income elderly struggling to balance their basic needs against their small incomes. In some households, prescription medications have replaced dinner due to the lack of funds. Increases in property taxes may impact an elderly neighbor’s decision to pay their taxes and keep a roof over their heads and go hungry instead.

Families that need our services have incomes at poverty or below the poverty level. They struggle to stay afloat and one medical bill, one major car repair, or one additional household expense can make a difference as to what is on the dinner table.
As the Rock River Valley Pantry looks to the future, we see a growing need that can only be met through your donations, communities fundraising efforts, local supermarket food recovery programs, and government support. As you decide what type of contribution that you will make to support the Pantry’s efforts, please remember monetary donations allow us to purchase food at two to three times the retail rate and 93% of all monetary support is spent on program services. Your food donations will stay in this community and help those that are food insecure.

Thank you for your interest in the Rock River Valley Pantry and its mission to fight hunger by providing nutritious food to those in urgent need. You will make a difference in a hungry person’s life by acting today!”