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Food bank names new executive director

by: Gus Jarvis New Estacada Area Food Bank Executive Director Barbara Shibley, right, pauses for a moment on Friday with volunteers working during the food bank’s open hours.

The Estacada Area Food Bank's Board of Directors unanimously named Barbara Shibley to head up food bank operations as its next executive director after the recent death of former executive director Phyllis Varnell.

Shibley has been acting director since January and has volunteered at the food bank for the past two years.

Board Chairman Dave Piper said there was one other candidate the board looked at to fill the position, but Shibley was the unanimous and 'obvious' successor to Varnell.

'We are extremely blessed to have the talents and experience of Barbara leading the organization, specifically in these difficult economic times,' Piper said. 'She has over 30 years of volunteer management and is dedicated to the goals of the food bank.'

In her two years of volunteering at the food bank, Shibley said, she's seen firsthand how important the nonprofit organization is for the Estacada area community.

'Until I started volunteering, I didn't realize how much work there is and what a variety of work there is for volunteers to do,' Shibley said. 'Being here on Broadway means we are more visible to the public and there's an increased need. It plays an important role in the community.'

Since becoming acting director in January, Shibley said, her first goal was to stabilize the volunteer system to make it easier for volunteers to work on their own within an organized system.

'They know what the whole system is like and that's really important,' she said. 'I am wanting to make it more efficient as a volunteer organization and have our volunteers recognize how important their role is.'

With the arrival of spring, Shibley expects the food bank to receive more and more fresh produce, and she would like the organization to provide more nutrition education by teaching people how to cook the fresh produce and make better nutritional decisions.

'Right now, we're getting the volunteer management up to speed on that,' Shibley said.

Both she and Piper agreed that Varnell and her dedication to the food bank will be missed. Varnell died recently of cancer.

The food bank, serving people in need in Estacada, Eagle Creek and Colton, is a nonprofit, locally controlled, and all volunteer organization. Each month, the food bank distributes food to an average of 250 families. It's open each Tuesday and Friday 10 a.m.-3:45 p.m. and is located on Broadway Street across from the Key Bank in Estacada.