"It said to mail your résumé to a search committee, and I had to look for the address in Gassaway. I thought, 'Who is this company?' I had donated stuff to the food bank, but I had no idea how it worked."
Working as office manager prepared her to take on the director's role, as she created poundage reports and payroll. Her degree from Glenville State College gave her a background in business. Her varied jobs -- working in restaurants, grocery stores and doing home health visits for the state -- all help her in her position today.
"It was kind of like, I did this job, and I did this job, and I did this job, and they all came together here at Mountaineer Food Bank. When I did home health visits for the state, I saw all of these hungry kids. I saw firsthand the suffering in the families. Once, at the Braxton County health clinic, a mother and her six children came in for the children's well-child physicals. All were malnourished. The mom's income was $2 too much to get food stamps.
"There were no church pantries, nothing like today. The fact is there wasn't anything in place at that time. This system wasn't in place."
In 1981, Mountaineer Food Bank was created through the efforts of an anti-hunger coalition looking for ways to feed more people. They began creating relationships throughout the state, and became charter members of the national rural food delivery system Feeding America.
Today, Mountaineer Food Bank is the state's largest supplier of food and personal products for people in need of emergency assistance, working within a sophisticated network of feeding programs and donors.
The warehouse in Gassaway has 19,800 cubic feet of dry storage, 39,000 cubic feet of freezer space, and 15,600 cubic feet of refrigerated space. They work with soup kitchens, food pantries, day-care centers, shelters, after-school programs, backpack programs and senior programs.
The job keeps Nardella tied to the Gassaway location, but she would love to visit donors and onsite providers. She spoke of a generous orchard owner in the Eastern Panhandle who recently donated a truckload of apples to the food bank.
"I would love to see his face. I speak to him on the phone, but I just need to jump on one of our trucks and visit. I just want to say 'thank you' in person."
Reach Sara Busse at sara.bu...@wvgazette.com.