Goodbye with Gratitude
July 21, 2021
As many of you may know, our Director of Programs & Operations, Aubree Pierce, is a fantastic person with an incredible amount of drive and passion for our mission. Since stepping into her role with We Don’t Waste she has become a pivotal part of the organization.
This makes it all the more difficult to announce that Aubree will be leaving us for a move across the country. Her energy and charisma will be dearly missed, but our team wishes her the best for the move and for all of her future endeavors!
Sam Talarczyk, previously one of our awesome Food Recovery Specialists, has stepped into Aubree’s shoes, taking on the role of Director of Programs & Operations. Since joining our team, Sam has been an enthusiastic and hard-working team player. He is passionate about continuing to grow and optimize the organization and we cannot wait to see what he accomplishes!
And without further ado, here’s what Aubree herself has to say about her time at We Don’t Waste:
Over the last two years, I have had the great pleasure of working at We Don’t Waste. In the summer of 2019, the previous nonprofit I worked with closed its doors, and I found myself looking for another opportunity. I had spent the previous several years working in the realm of hunger and food waste, so I was excited to see an opening for a Food Recovery Specialist at We Don’t Waste. I got to know the ins and outs of the organization and more about our partners during my six months as a Food Recovery Specialist.
My favorite part of the job was (and still is) going out on the trucks and interacting with people at our partner agencies. I feel very lucky to have had this unique and in-depth glance into the network of nonprofits addressing hunger and basic needs in the Front Range. When the Director of Programs & Operations position became available, I was thrilled to apply for the job. With my previous experience in food systems, nonprofits, and program management along with my internal knowledge of the organization, I felt ready to take on the challenge. What I did not expect was the COVID-19 pandemic.
My first day as Director of Programs & Operations was on March 1, 2020. Just two weeks after I started in this new role, the stay at home order was put into place. Working with the We Don’t Waste executive leadership team, we quickly pivoted our operations, staffing, and Mobile Food Markets to protect our staff and recipients while continuing to provide an essential service to the community.
Over the next several months through the pandemic, we were able to keep operations running, increase the number of Mobile Food Markets each month, recover increasing amounts of food donations (especially as many food businesses found themselves closing), and add on 36 new recipient agencies. We have seen so much hardship, tragedy, and inequity in our community and our country through the pandemic, and I am honored that I had the chance and the privilege to lead the incredible We Don’t Waste team as we served the community through this crisis.
Aside from managing the operations through the pandemic, I was lucky enough to serve at We Don’t Waste through a time of growth and adjustment. I was able to participate in strategic conversations to develop plans and programs for the organization to have a greater impact on the community and collaborate with partners on several projects to address hunger and food waste. I have learned so much from my time at We Don’t Waste and have so many unforgettable experiences that I will always keep with me. It is bittersweet that I am leaving my position at We Don’t Waste as I am moving to Michigan to be closer to family. I am so thankful that the leadership team at We Don’t Waste took a chance on me and I will be forever grateful for the experience and growth that I have achieved as a professional during my time at this organization. I have truly enjoyed my time working with We Don’t Waste and I am beyond thankful to the entire We Don’t Waste team, the Board of Directors, and the Denver nonprofit network for the continued support that I experienced through the pandemic and beyond. I am excited to see the organization grow and flourish in the coming years. The impact that we’ve had on the community and on the state of Colorado as a whole is astounding, and I am proud to have been a part of such an amazing organization.