Evalynn Romano, the Master of Public Health student in the Department of Global Health who began supporting UW custodial workers with bread, coffee, and masks last month, has now delivered supplies to nearly 500 workers on the UW campus. Romano’s efforts have reached approximately 280 custodial and recycling operations staff and 200 workers at UW Medical Center.
In addition to the donations and assistance she was receiving from friends and family, Romano has also started receiving donations from Macrina Bakery in the form of pastries. Romano says that she would like to continue her efforts by serving one to two areas of the UW Seattle campus per week.
“As long as I have the time and resources, I don’t have an end date in mind yet!” Romano said.
The bread, coffee, and mask distribution began with a simple email asking for funds to purchase the materials, and has snowballed into a much wider effort. Romano's parents are also part of the UW custodial community, with her mother working in the Art Building for 31 years and her dad working for the university for 25 years, most recently in the Health Sciences Building. Support came pouring in from people who were eager to help out. Romano’s friend, Rosie Dino, provided coffee beans, while childhood friend and her mom, Maya and Patti Mincemoyer, sewed about 300 masks for the workers. API Chaya, an organization that empowers survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking, donated an additional 200 masks. All of these provisions, combined with handmade thank you notes, showed immeasurable gratitude for the workers keeping UW clean during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I have never met the majority of my supporters”, Romano said. “I didn’t imagine that this much generosity would come from the community.”
With such widespread support and enthusiasm, Romano was also able to use the community’s donations to purchase Safeway gift cards for the workers. Campus custodians and recycling operations staff received $50 Safeway gift cards while their managers and supervisors each received $20 gift cards. In total, Romano estimates she has raised about $16,850, but would like to continue raising funds to support her efforts in the coming weeks.
Donation money can be sent to @Evalynn-Romano on Venmo or via PayPal at paypal.me/evalynnfae. For more information, or to send thank you notes for the workers, email Evalynn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Funds will be used to purchase coffee supplies (i.e., cups, lids, cream, sugar, stirrers, coffee airpot, etc.).