A new director has yet to be found, but the Dublin Food Pantry soon will lose a longtime volunteer.
The Dublin Food Pantry is currently searching for a part-time executive director, its first paid position. Current executive director Linda Fisher has been volunteering for the Dublin Food Pantry since 1997 and said it’s nearly time to move on.
“It’s a bittersweet time,” Fisher said. “I’m proud of where the pantry has gone, but it’s time for me to move onto other things. Fresh perspectives, fresh eyes and fresh faces are always good things for organizations.”
Fisher, who began volunteering at the Dublin Food Pantry in 1997, was asked to lead the group in 2009.
Since then, she’s taken on responsibilities including scheduling volunteers, training volunteers, collecting donated food, making sure all food handling guidelines are followed and lots of paperwork.
“There’s so much that happens at the pantry besides serving food to clients,” she said. “There’s a lot of administrative work behind the scenes. I’m the ring master of a really large circus.”
The Dublin Food Pantry has been entirely volunteer-based so far, and Fisher said she often has to share a brain with volunteer coordinator Catherine O’Connell.
“Communication is huge,” she said.
O’Connell has been volunteering at the Dublin Food Pantry for about five years and said since Fisher took over, she’s expanded service.
“I started about five years ago, and at that time, there was only one service per week, and Linda was in charge of that service,” she said. “When Linda took over, she moved it forward to serving three times a week. Linda embraced the whole organization and learned the pantry organization more. She turned it into a more functioning unit, which was necessitated by seeing more and more clients.”
Fisher’s presence has brought a lot to the Dublin Food Pantry, O’Connell said.
“She’s very knowledgeable and works well with the volunteers. It’s entirely different than working with employees, and she’s done very well working with the volunteer base,” she said. “She’s been a great leader, and I will miss her sorely.”
Pantry board member Christine Nardecchia agreed.
“She’s a phenomenal person,” she said.
Being in the office doing administrative work rather than helping clients has been difficult, Fisher said.
“I need to spend my time doing the administrative work,” she said. “For those of us who get into this, that is difficult because we get into this for the food and the people. You want to go and help with the food and be with the clients.”
Fisher said she’ll stay on while the new director is trained, and she has a seat on the board with a term until March 2013. With a recent move to Marysville, now is a good time for a transition, she said.
The move will give Fisher more time to devote to a Hispanic chapel she leads at Dublin Baptist Church and a family business that was recently opened.
“This is a logical time to make the change. I love the pantry,” she said. “I wouldn’t have given all those hours if I didn’t love this.”