This local nonprofit leader stopped taking a paycheck to continue paying employees

Barbara Board doesn’t like to take credit for the accomplishments of Tarrant County’s Community Storehouse. She says that credit belongs to everybody who works for the nonprofit, from paid employees to volunteer workers.

But Megan Stiller, director of development for the organization, said Board is the reason Community Storehouse has been able to continue operating and adapt to new needs in the community brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization, which Board leads as executive director, works with schools and families to provide lower income children with food and academic assistance.

Community Storehouse reached a record for the number of people served Oct. 7, providing food to 15,000 and seeing an increase in need of more than 300% from last year.

Community Storehouse also provides snacks to schools, hygiene products and offers tutoring for students, all efforts Board leads but says aren’t possible without community support. It doubled its efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and has not laid off a single employee despite the recession.

Stiller said that’s because of Board’s leadership. She nominated Board for recognition in the Star-Telegram’s Hometown Heroes series.

Hometown Heroes is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, which is providing $1,000 each week over 28 weeks to those selected by the Star-Telegram to be featured in the series.

“During these last five months, the leadership that she’s shown not only with her staff but with the community, making sure that anybody who needs supplies or food is taken care of, and then how she was able to proactively think ahead about the needs of these kiddos, both emotionally and educationally as these kids get ready to start back at school,” Stiller said.

That’s possible because Board, who has worked as executive director for 20 years, has been an example of the dedication and determination it takes to make Community Storehouse work. She’s even stopped taking a paycheck since the pandemic to make sure paid employees don’t lose their job.

She hadn’t told anybody outside the board of directors about that decision, often simply saying she has cut the hours for which she is paid like some employees have had to do. She said it wasn’t a hard decision to make.

“I’m blessed with a husband who can provide for our family,” Board said. “That allows me to do that, but really Community Storehouse is like my fourth child. I care about the mission and I care about the people.”

When COVID-19 reached Texas, Community Storehouse asked volunteers to stay home and began a tele-tutoring service to replace in-person tutoring.

“Barbara really put us on the forefront of challenging us,” Stiller said. “We aren’t able to be on school campuses — how are we going to keep these kiddos engaged?”

As school has started back up, students from the Keller school district, the Northwest school district and others have returned to in-person tutoring at Community Storehouse. Board has ensured that the number of students are limited and that they wash their hands when entering, keep distanced and seated, wear masks and wash their hands again when they leave.

Stiller said Board’s leadership was essential in keeping services running without volunteers and adapting to serve underprivileged students virtually was essential.

Rick Westfall, superintendent of the Keller school district, said the work of Community Storehouse and Board have been invaluable to the district.

“They are passionate about helping our families and we are always confident when we refer them to Barbara and her team because we know their needs will be addressed,” Westfall said. “We are thankful that we are able to work with Barbara, as she is truly the epitome of a hometown hero.”

Board said the biggest thing that makes a difference is not her work, but the efforts of those who work with the organization and donations from the community.

People in the community can donate their time, clothes or money to the organization. Clothes go to the organization’s Upscale Resale storefront, where they sell clothes for a discounted price that helps further operations.

Volunteers can also get involved through the website, communitystorehouse.org/volunteer. Community Storehouse has volunteer opportunities with Ladies of Hope, the after school reading program, in the office and in the resale department.

To nominate a hero

To nominate someone to be featured in the Hometown Heroes series, go to star-telegram.com/nominate.

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