How the Denny "Lunch Lady" became Dock Foreman for meal distribution
When the pandemic became a national crisis one year ago and schools shut down it meant a lot of changes were in store. One of the most dramatic came when Doree Fazio-Young, the well known "Lunch Lady" at Denny International Middle School was suddenly without her normal routine including working with staff and seeing the hundreds of kids who would get their meals from her daily.
As Doree put it:
"One year ago today myself and my crew were just in the middle of 3rd lunch when all of a sudden one of my teachers said "Doree check your email!" When I did they had just closed us for what started to be three weeks because of this thing called Covid 19. I couldn’t believe it.
The kids were so happy. No school! They were celebrating. Little did we all know that that was the last time that we would all be together for God knows how long and I was disappointed because my 60th birthday was the next day and I was looking forward to spending it with all my kids and staff.
On Monday March 16th 2020 Seattle Public Schools opened the food sites for distribution of Lunches for our kids. Any child 18 and under could come and get food We opened both sides, Chief Sealth and Denny and passed out food. Then came the shutdown and that got scary. We saw less and less of our children and more of their parents. Then in April Amazon asked if they could help us get food to our children. They partnered with us to deliver food boxes to our children who couldn’t get to one of our many food sites.
That’s when I went from Lunch Lady Doree to Dock Foreman Doree.
My co worker Gem and I work the back loading dock M-F 7am to 11am rain, shine, snow, wind and icy conditions don't stop us.
Our central kitchen makes these boxes that contain 3 breakfasts and 3 lunches fresh fruit and vegetables and milk and juice for a child They are delivered to us on pallets.
We started out with about 300 now we are up to 600 boxes a day or more. The most Gem and I have pushed off the dock in 1 day was 1581 boxes, and that was a crazy day.
The Amazon drivers deliver as far north as Everett and as fas south as Tacoma. Today March 11th marks a 1 year mark of working an entire year forgoing all of my vacations that we get off as Lunch Ladies including my summer vacation.
I’m pretty proud of that. it’s been a heck of a ride with the mask wearing, signing in to come to work everyday, getting my temp taken every morning. getting exposed to Covid 19, thee times and very thankful that myself and my crew have not contracted it.
And here we are one year later still feeding our kids and missing them and waiting for the day when we can all be together again"
As of the second week in November 2020, the SPS Nutrition Services Dept. was distributing an average of around 30,000 meals per day, which represents the highest number of distributed meals since SPS schools were closed last March due to coronavirus. The meals include breakfast and lunch meals for students, as well as a new program featuring fresh fruits and vegetables.
Students can pick up their weekday meals at any of the 40 SPS school-based sites, most from
11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (times may vary).
Besides school-based distribution, meals are also distributed by bus on eight different routes, which are serviced by numerous buses.
Doree rocks! Dedicated,fun and always has a kind word.!!
I’ve known Doree for quite some time and she’s always been an amazing caring lady!! I had the privilege of having fun with the kids once and to see the affection the kids have for her and vice Versailles truly wonderful... God Bless You Doree and CREW!!! Making a difference every day!
So awesome proud of you Doree ❤️❤️
What a needed and beautiful role you play! Helping feed the community, but also every student that knows you, feels accepted, loved, worthy.