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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

NYC honors 32 Local 372 Hunger Heroes

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.

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.

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

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!’”

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

“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.”

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

Congratulations to the Hunger Heroes


Pedro Rivas, Senior School Lunch Helper — P.S. 140 Nathan Straus

Aretha Garner, Cook — International High School at Union Square

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

Sofia Rodriguez, School Lunch Aid/Cook — Central Park East High School

Snezhana Belja, School Food Service Manager — P.S. 046 Arthur Tappan, P.S. 194 Countee Cullen, Frederick Douglass Academy, Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School

Consuelo Caballero, School Lunch Assistant/Cook-in-Charge — P.S. 189


Ana Blanco, Cook — Academy of Applied Mathematics and Technology

Gisell Ramirez, Senior School Lunch Aide/Head Cook — Archimedes Academy for Math, Science and Technology Applications

Patricia Lightfoot, School Lunch Helper — I.S. 339

Marixa Lopez, School Lunch Helper/Office Manager — Field Office 10, M.S 391

James Baker, Senior School Lunch Helper — P.S. 108 Philip J. Abinanti

Marjorie Coates, Senior School Lunch Aide/Cook — P.S. 211


Glenys Gonzalez, Senior School Lunch Helper — P.S. 008 Robert Fulton

Allison Anderson, Senior School Lunch/Cook — P.S. 297 Abraham Stockton

Maria Rivera, Senior School Lunch Helper — The Maurice Sendak Community School, Brooklyn School of the Arts

Cherise Neal, School Food Service Manager — P.S. 005 Dr. Ronald McNair, Boys & Girls H.S., Research and Service High School, Nelson Mandela High School

Tyrone Joseph, Heavy Duty Person — Pathways in Technology Early College High School

Lezlie Johnston, School Lunch Aide — P.S. 115 Daniel Mucatel School

Albert Robinson, School Lunch Aide — W. H. Maxwell Career and Technical Education High School

Mohammed Uddin, Senior School Lunch Helper — P.S. 264 Bay Ridge Elementary School for the Arts

Terencia Hankins, School Lunch Aide — P.S. 288 Shirley Tanyhill

Sophia Davis, School Lunch Aide/Cook-in-Charge — P.S. 193 Gil Hodges

Yonnette Welcome, Senior School Lunch Aide — Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School

Luis Mendoza Jr., Cook — P.S. 376


Ruth Quizhpe, School Lunch Assistant/Cook — I.S. 061 Leonardo Da Vinci

Jessica Floratos, School Lunch Aide — P.S. 079 Francis Lewis

Lisa Fusco, School Food Service Manager — P.S. 041 Crocheron, M.S. 158 Marie Curie, P.S. 376, P.S. 213 The Carl Ullman School

Bella Tufano, Senior School Lunch Aide/Cook-in-Charge — P.S. 100 Glen Morris

Ophelia Rango, School Lunch Assistant/Cook — Hillcrest High School

Joel Baptiste, School Lunch Aide — Eagle Academy for Young Men III

Treza Ayoub, Senior School Lunch Aide/Cook-in-Charge — P.S. 149 Christa McAuliffe

Staten Island

Saffa Aboelenin, Senior School Lunch Aide — I.S. 007 Elias Bernstein