Our organization was started in 1994 by Norma Simmer, a retired nurse, when she moved to Rio Vista and joined a group called "Consider the Lilies." Operating from the local Baptist Church
, with four volunteers, they distributed food to those in need in our community. When the organization went out of existence in 1995, Norma obtained permission from the First Congregational Church to store and distribute food from their basement. She named this new organization Rio Vista Food Ministry. Norma obtained food from both the Solano County and Walnut Grove food banks and was soon providing food parcels to some fourteen families. Within two months, this number had grown to thirty families. In January, 2006, the Rio Vista Food Ministry was incorporated and renamed the Rio Vista Ministry, Inc. (RVM) and was approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency.
The continuing and growing need for supplemental food assistance, further impacted by inadequate storage space and difficulty of access for clients with disabilities, prompted Rio Vista Ministry, Inc. to seek new quarters. In late 2007, they were able to lease office space in downtown Rio Vista. Although noticeably better than the church basement, the space was still very limited for food storage. At the same time as this move, Rio Vista Ministry, Inc. determined they would provide several additional services which had been offered by the Rio Vista Community Assistance Center (CAC). These services included case management, emergency shelter, utility assistance and transportation. They also extended its food service to include a USDA food distribution and a Brown Bag food program for low-income seniors.
In November 2008, Rio Vista Ministry, Inc. began providing all of its services from a much larger building in the downtown area. The move was not only beneficial in improving the ever growing number of clients, but it also allowed them to provide space for other related organizations. These included Healthy Partnerships (providing state-licensed DUI programs, Outpatient Counseling and Re-entry Services), a family counselor, State Mental and Health services, Section 8 housing, Food Stamp assistance and English as a Second Language instruction by the local library.
Although our name has changed over the years from Rio Vista Ministry, Inc to Rio Vista Community Services to our current, Rio Vista Food Pantry, our mission has remained consistent.
Rio Vista Food Pantry will continue to grow and expand our services to the many low-income individuals and families in the Rio Vista and surrounding areas. We are staffed and managed by volunteers who provide hundreds of hours of assistance every month. The funds received by the Rio Vista Food Pantry are used to directly support our many clients.