Extended Hands Pantry is a faith-based, grass roots, charitable organization. We have set our sights on the reduction of the racial achievement gap in our local schools. Low reading and math achievement are still the rule for many children. In today’s knowledge economy, failure in school condemns children to be leading candidates for poverty and prison as adults. We attack school performance issues in two ways; access to healthy food and tutors. Contact us to learn more and get involved.
Our Mission: Serve our area families and individuals with compassionate acts of love. Encourage, educate, and nourish our children as a servant-hearted expression of Jesus Christ
Meet the Team
Andy Czerkas, Executive Director Jenny Czerkas, Operations Director
For over 20 years Andy & Jenny have worked tirelessly to battle hunger. Starting in 2000 they organized monthly dinners and other events in low-income neighborhoods. In 2005, Andy & Jenny founded The River Food Pantry, a faith based non-profit, on Madison's north side, turning a small startup into the largest food pantry in Dane County. In her 12 years as Executive Director at The River Food Pantry Jenny developed a deep understanding of food insecurity and comprehensive knowledge of local food systems and food needs. Andy worked part time at The River and then full time when he retired from teaching in 2012.
Over time Andy & Jenny became more concerned with childhood nutrition and its effect on learning. In 2016, they successfully conceived a lunch program, MUNCH, which would deliver nutritious lunches to several low income neighborhoods on the days when school was not in session. Andy & Jenny left The River in December of 2017.
Since then childhood nutrition and tutoring have become a focus for Andy & Jenny. They created a new non-profit, Extended Hands Pantry which has been providing healthy after school snacks and a light meal at the Packer and Northport Community Learning Centers along with also tutoring children. Andy and Jenny also tutored at the Mt Zion Baptist Church's Academic Learning Center during the 2019 – 2020 school year.
In 2020 during the Covid-19 crisis Extended Hands Pantry developed a partnership with Lighthouse Church and School to provide groceries, once a week, in a curbside pantry in the school parking lot. This new food pantry has been serving 60 to 100 families each week. We are presently working on creating permanent outdoor space for a food pantry at Lighthouse that would serve the school and surrounding neighborhoods.
Board of Directors