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Dallas Food Pantry Worker Gets A Boost During The Pandemic: A Promotion

Liz Salas
Liz Salas, left, and her boss, Meredith Parrott, work at the CitySquare Food Pantry in Dallas. Salas learned recently that she'd been chosen as the pantry's new volunteer coordinator.

The Bluetooth audio system filled Liz Salas’ car with the sound of her manager’s voice.

“Oh crap. Was I not supposed to leave? Do I have to turn back around?” Salas thought, already on her way to visit her boyfriend in Fort Hood for the weekend.

“I have the great honor to tell you you got the position as the new volunteer coordinator.”

Salas could practically hear Meredith Parrott, her manager, beaming with pride through the phone. Before even telling Salas she got the job, Parrott already bragged to a few of the staff members at CitySquare Food Pantry that Salas got the promotion.

Salas took the intake specialist job about a year ago as her first full-time job out of college. In her new role, she’ll be responsible for managing the pantry’s volunteer program, recruiting volunteers and handling partnerships with corporate volunteer groups.

Days before, Salas had been crying on the phone to her boyfriend. After multiple rounds of interviews, she was sure she’d bombed the last one. The pantry director texted her about how great she’d done, but Salas was stuck in her own head, worried she didn’t give the best answer or make her thoughts clear enough.

“Sometimes you’re your own worst critic,” Salas said.

Ever humble, Salas said it was probably her bilingual skills that gave her a boost. And maybe her boss liked her ideas to improve the pantry’s volunteer program, which on a given day has 10 to 12 volunteers, compared with only two full-time pantry staffers.

If she got the job, she wanted to lead a coalition of Spanish-speaking volunteers, expand the pantry’s Latino outreach and partner with local high schools that require students to volunteer in the community.

Salas said she’s especially excited to build up her team of Latino volunteers so pantry visitors see, “Hey, we have volunteers who look like you.”

Tuesday is Salas’ first day in her new role — the same day a new AmeriCorps member, who’ll report to her, is set to start at the pantry.

He’ll probably be looking to Salas for all the answers, she said.

“Joke’s on you, we’re both training,” Salas said, laughing.

This story was published in the Texas Tribune.