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Parish Cupboard to come under new management

Date: 9/29/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- Executive Director Candy Boucher has been the face, the force and the faith behind the Parish Cupboard for the past 11 years but on Oct. 14, she'll leave 1023 Main St. for the last time.

Boucher, a native of Iowa, explained she has chosen to return to her Midwest roots. West Side resident Martha Tighe, a 41-year veteran of the school department, will step in as the Parish Cupboard's new executive director.

"I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye," she told Reminder Publications. "This is the best job I've ever had [but] it's time for us [me and my husband] to go back [home]."

Boucher said she began at the Parish Cupboard with a mission to multiply the number of hands lobbying for and serving the hungry.

"At the end of the line, I am more realistic than I was at the beginning," she explained. "At the beginning I hoped to work myself out of a job and as I leave I know how valuable this service is. People like us are vulnerable. We're only a pink slip away from needing our services.

"We have so many more elderly that are struggling," she continued. "I think those are the things that prove that this service is still necessary but make no mistake, there is no one picture of poverty anymore. You're not gonna see a poster child be representative of the Parish Cupboard anymore. There's a lot of people hiding from really, really drastic and worrisome economic situations in their lives and mostly because of pride."

Boucher added that the economic downturn of the past several years has yielded higher numbers from every demographic seeking services.

David Crosier, president of the Parish Cupboard Board of Directors, said Tighe has the credentials and the know-how to keep up with the increasing demand and expand the organization's mission. He noted that of 16 applicants, six were granted interviews before choosing Tighe.

"I'm not a bulldog, going [in] to make changes, but I'm going to see where we can go [in the future]," Tighe said, adding that she'll be working with Boucher for two weeks prior to her departure.

"I've got to make the people that are there get to know me and [we'll] work as a team," she explained of her approach to the new position. "We're heading into the busy season of Thanksgiving and Christmas [so] we need to maintain high quality and standards."

Tighe added, "This is not just something they [those at the Parish Cupboard] are [just] doing -- it's a passion. I'm looking forward making it my passion and to giving back to a community I've been a part of for so long."

Boucher said she is confident the community will lend its hand in support of the new executive director.

"If I have one thing to say as I leave, it's just to say thank you to the most generous community I've ever known," she said.