NYC Honors 32 Local 372 Hunger Heroes

Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I accepts the NYC proclamation for public school food workers.

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS

Some comic book heroes wear capes and some, like the 32 real life Hunger Heroes who are New York City Board of Education Employees Local 372 cooks, food service workers and aides, wear white aprons, hairnets and gloves.

On March 10, Mayor Eric Adams, Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and No Kid Hungry New York honored 32 Department of Education essential employees for working tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to feed public school children and anyone hungry in New York City.

City Hall welcomed 32 Local 372 cooks, aides, and food service workers that Mayor Adams and DOE Chancellor Banks honored for feeding school kids through the pandemic.

As the coronavirus forced the City to shuttered public schools, hundreds of DOE kitchen workers in Local 372 stayed on the job preparing grab-and-go meals to fight hunger citywide. One in four children faces hunger in New York. In many cases public schools are a safety net for thousands of food insecure families who would otherwise go hungry.

“These dedicated Local 372 members are on the frontlines every day,” said Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I, who is also president of DC 37. “They feed New York’s school kids, rolling up their sleeves to be vaccinated against this deadly virus to stay healthy as they feed others. They stay ready, preparing and providing healthy meals each school day during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve worked through the sweltering summers, through school breaks, school closures and holidays to make sure no child went hungry. It’s admirable that Mayor Adams and Chancellor Banks have acknowledged their service to say ‘Thank you, great job!’”

The Hunger Heroes are part of DOE’s workforce who prepare and serve more than 800,000 nutritious meals every school day for the city’s 1.1 million school kids. The DOE Office of Food & Nutrition Services is the nation’s second largest food distribution service behind the U.S. Armed Forces.

“School workers who have gone above and beyond to ensure our children don’t go hungry have delivered for our children, day after day, because when our children eat right, we can help them live up to their potential, inside and outside the classroom,” said Mayor Adams. “These Hunger Heroes deserve our respect and gratitude.”

Chancellor David C. Banks with Local 372 President Shaun D. Francois I.

“Our Hunger Heroes are too often unsung heroes, but they are some of the most vital professionals in our school communities,” said Rachel Sabella, director of No Kid Hungry New York. “No matter what challenges children may face at home, they can count on our Hunger Heroes to provide good, healthy meals to keep our kids strong and healthy.”

This year’s Hunger Heroes include people like Treza Ayoub, the cook in charge at P.S. 149 in Jackson Heights, Queens, since 1998. When a nearby apartment building suffered a fire last April, displacing several students and causing them to miss school, Treza made sure every student ate breakfast and lunch.

“With all the waste that occurs each and every day, no one should go hungry. Food is not a privilege, it’s a right, and starving for food is inhumane,” said Francois. “Feeding our school children is extremely important to their education because food feeds the mind. School food employees work hard to prepare nutritional meals to feed over one million children every school day – now that’s heroism!”

The Hunger Heroes are:

Staten Island

  • District 31: Saffa Aboelenin, Senior School Lunch Aide at I.S. 007 Elias Bernstein

Manhattan

  • District 1: Pedro Rivas, Senior School Lunch Helper at P.S. 140 Nathan Straus
  • District 2: Aretha Garner, Cook at the International High School at Union Square
  • District 3: Brittany Saffold, School Food Service Manager T P.S. 009 Sarah Anderson, West End Secondary School, The Urban Assembly School for Green Careers, P.S. 452
  • District 4: Sofia Rodriguez, School Lunch Aid/Cook at Central Park East High School
  • District 5: Snezhana Belja, School Food Service Manager at P.S. 046 Arthur Tappan, P.S. 194 Countee Cullen, Frederick Douglass Academy, Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School
  • District 6: Consuelo Caballero, School Lunch Assistant/Cook-in-Charge at P.S. 189

Bronx

  • District 7: Ana Blanco, Cook at Academy of Applied Mathematics and Technology
  • District 8: Gisell Ramirez, Senior School Lunch Aide/Head Cook at Archimedes Academy for Math, Science and Technology Applications
  • District 9: Patricia Lightfoot, School Lunch Helper at I.S. 339
  • District 10: Marixa Lopez, School Lunch Helper/Office Manager at Field Office 10, S 391
  • District 11: James Baker, Senior School Lunch Helper at P.S. 108 Philip J. Abinanti
  • District 12: Marjorie Coates, Senior School Lunch Aide/Cook at P.S. 211

Brooklyn

  • District 13: Glenys Gonzalez, Sr. SLH at P.S. 008 Robert Fulton
  • District 14: Allison Anderson, Senior School Lunch/Cook at P.S. 297 Abraham Stockton
  • District 15: Maria Rivera, Sr. SLH at The Maurice Sendak Community School, Brooklyn School of the Arts
  • District 16: Cherise Neal, School Food Service Manager at P.S. 005 Dr. Ronald McNair, Boys & Girls H.S., Research and Service High School, Nelson Mandela High School
  • District 17: Tyrone Joseph, Heavy Duty Person at Pathways in Technology Early College High School
  • District 18: Lezlie Johnston, School Lunch Aide at P.S. 115 Daniel Mucatel School
  • District 19: Albert Robinson, School Lunch Aide at W. H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School
  • District 20: Mohammed Uddin, Sr. School Lunch Helper at P.S. 264 Bay Ridge Elementary School for the Arts
  • District 21: Terencia Hankins, School Lunch Aide at P.S. 288 Shirley Tanyhill
  • District 22: Sophia Davis, School Lunch Aide/Cook-in-Charge at P.S. 193 Gil Hodges
  • District 23: Yonnette Welcome, Senior School Lunch Aide at Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School
  • District 32: Luis Mendoza Jr, Cook at P.S. 376

Queens

  • District 24: Ruth Quizhpe, School Lunch Assistant/Cook at I.S. 061 Leonardo Da Vinci
  • District 25: Jessica Floratos, School Lunch Aide at P.S. 079 Francis Lewis
  • District 26: Lisa Fusco, School Food Service Manager at P.S. 041 Crocheron, M.S. 158 Marie Curie, P.S. 376, P.S. 213 The Carl Ullman School
  • District 27: Bella Tufano, Sr. School Lunch Aide/Cook-in-Charge at P.S. 100 Glen Morris
  • District 28: Ophelia Rango, School Lunch Assistant/Cook at Hillcrest High School
  • District 29: Joel Baptiste, School Lunch Aide at Eagle Academy for Young Men III
  • District 30: Treza Ayoub, Senior School Lunch Aide/Cook-in-Charge at P.S. 149 Christa Mcauliffe

 

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