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New manager, new procedures at Pierce County Food Pantry

Food shelf needs monetary donations; food from individuals is off-limits at this time.
Heidi Albarado is the new manager of the Pierce County Food Pantry. Image provided by Albarado.

ELLSWORTH -- Heidi Albarado began volunteering with the Pierce County Food Pantry in 2019. Now she manages the nonprofit.

Albarado’s husband was born and raised in Pierce County and Albarado has lived in Ellsworth for 22 years.

“It’s a community that really means something to me,” Albarado said.

Before applying for the position with the food pantry. Albarado worked in real estate and human resources. Albarado explained that she left HR and found that she had free time. So she began volunteering at the Pierce County Food Pantry.

“I can make my own schedule in real estate and I have my office right here, my home right here, and this is my community. I absolutely love Pierce County and this community. And so I wanted to give to them and help in any way that I could," she said.

As the manager of a nonprofit with six food pantry locations, Albarado has numerous responsibilities. Her job description includes distributing food to customers, aiding in the ordering and stocking of food items, distributing goods to the pantries around the county, coordinating volunteers and heading community appreciation for support.

Albarado stepped into the managerial role in March and quickly had to implement healthy safety measures during the pandemic. One major change is how customers receive their food.

“We do have a new procedure, we have a drive-up procedure and so people have to stay in their vehicle and we ask them what they want, and then we shop for them, and then we distribute onto a table and then they can get out of their vehicle and put the stuff into their vehicle," she explained.

Albarado also had to find more volunteers with the outbreak of COVID-19. She explained that many volunteers decided to shelter at home to avoid the virus.

“We ended up getting 30 brand new volunteers in a week. And so people have come out and I can’t say enough good things about our volunteers,” Albarado said.

While the pantry is open, the donations that it accepts have changed due to COVID-19. Albarado said the Pierce County Food Pantry can’t take food items from individuals. However, monetary donations are still being accepted, both online, by mail and in person.

Everyone is welcome at the Pierce County Food Pantry. Albarado said, “My slogan is ‘no judgment, no shame.’ We’re here for every family in need. And we have the products, they don’t have to feel bad about getting stuff that other people might need.”

Hours, location and contact

According to Albarado the Pierce County Food Pantry's website is being worked on as it has inaccurate information. The current hours for the Ellsworth pantry are:

9:30 a.m. to noon, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

4-6 p.m. Wednesdays.

The address is 440 North Maple St.

For more information, contact the pantry at 715-273-2070.