ST. ALBANS — Two weeks on the job, the new coordinator of NorthWest Family Foods (NFF), Toni Auriemma, is already making changes at the food shelf to improve operations and the flow of food.
Auriemma, 42, left her position in Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity’s (CVOEO) crisis fuel assistance program to take over for long-time food shelf coordinator Walter Gaskill, who will be staying on part-time.
In recent years, the director’s position has gone from full-time to part-time and back, based on the availability of funding. Grants from the Tarrant Foundation and the Houle Foundation freed up funds from elsewhere to make it possible to have Gaskill remain part-time with NFF, explained Franklin-Grand Isle Community Action’s director Robert Ostermeyer, which operates the food shelf.
For almost 20 years, Auriemma has worked in social services.
“It makes me feel good to help people,” said Auriemma, when asked why she pursued a career in this field. She added that her open, friendly, empathetic personality also often helps people feel comfortable and more accepting of help.
She started at CVOEO’s Burlington location in 1999 in the crisis fuel assistance program before switching to their housing assistance program. Then after a quick stint at Champlain Vocational Services, she came back to CVOEO to work at Champlain Valley Head Start.
When Auriemma moved from Burlington to Fairfield in 2003, she took the job of food shelf coordinator at NFF, at which time the food shelf was located at 86 North Main Street. In 2007, she had to reduce her hours after becoming a new mother, and soon after, the funding for her position was cut.
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