Empower Boone operates on a minimal paid staff so that we can maximize the amount of resources that goes to our neighbors. As an illustration of leadership, our paid staff donates several hours a week to the pantry. Staff believes that there is no hierarchy between the staff and the volunteers.

Brenda Valadez, Executive Director

I grew up the youngest, in a household of 8, where poverty was the daily norm. Beans and potatoes were served often and plates were always licked clean. I’ve raised 2 children of my own and 4 grandchildren on beans and potatoes and I know what it means to go to bed hungry. I came to Empower Boone County Food Pantry as a neighbor in need. The pantry opened their arms and their hearts to me. I received prayer, food, clothing, friendship, love, AND A JOB OFFER!! This was not a hand out. This was a hand UP! Working at the pantry allows me to give back and perhaps the opportunity to pay it forward to those in need. It reminds me that no matter how bad my day may seem, there is always someone who is worse off than I am. Working at the pantry allows me to have a positive attitude to push through my bad days and it opens my eyes to God’s challenge to make a change in the life of others in need, just as the pantry has done for me.

Chon Zapeda, Warehouse Supervisor

I came to Empower Boone as a neighbor in need of food assistance. While waiting for my turn in line, I offered to help with distribution. The staff and volunteers were very welcoming. I am thankful to work at the pantry because I enjoy giving back to my community and helping others. My favorite part of working at Empower Boone is seeing the smiles on my neighbors when we fill their trunks with all the good food.

Chris Shorter, Food Rescue/Warehouse Assistant

As a father of 4, I don’t want to see any child go hungry. I’ve made a commitment to help those in need by rescuing, and distributing food and giving back to our community. Working at Empower Boone fulfills my desire to help others.