Seattle Prep is preparing, delivering meals to those in need

  • Written by Brenda Sexton
  • Published in Local
Heidi Neff, a youth tutoring program manager for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, delivers meals to vulnerable homeless people who are staying in lodging provided by CCS during the COVID-19 outbreak. The meals are being made by the kitchen staff at Seattle Preparatory School and transported via the school’s buses. Photo: Stephen Brashear Heidi Neff, a youth tutoring program manager for Catholic Community Services of Western Washington, delivers meals to vulnerable homeless people who are staying in lodging provided by CCS during the COVID-19 outbreak. The meals are being made by the kitchen staff at Seattle Preparatory School and transported via the school’s buses. Photo: Stephen Brashear

SEATTLE – Seattle Preparatory School may be closed during the COVID-19 outbreak, but its kitchen is open, providing meals that are being delivered to hungry school children, families and the homeless.

“As Catholics, this is a part of our religion. There’s a need and we are able to fill it,” said Sven Shoultz, a 2015 Seattle Prep graduate who is organizing the project through the high school’s Alumni Service Corps.

On March 23, a team from Prep made their first delivery of meals to vulnerable homeless adults and families who are being housed at hotels around the Seattle area by Catholic Community Services of Western Washington.

“It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming to meet with the families yesterday,” said Erin Maguire, a CCS network builder who is helping coordinate the deliveries to hotels, in an email. “A mom told me she was so grateful because she was just about to make a ‘cup-a-noodle’ for her son for the third meal in a row.”

Meals will be delivered twice a week, and Prep is providing two or three meals per person at each delivery, Maguire said.

In coordination with the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Office for Catholic Schools, Seattle Prep is also providing hundreds of sack lunches each week to students from local Catholic schools — now learning at home — who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

Kitchen staff at Seattle Preparatory School pack up meals they have made for vulnerable homeless people staying in hotels during the coronavirus outbreak. Pictured are executive chef Kenyetta Carter, left, and kitchen assistants Jannie Curtin, Zara Harmon and T.J. Bretz. The team is also making more than 100 sack lunches every weekday for grade school students. Photo: Stephen Brashear

Volunteers and Prep bus drivers are delivering 120 to 200 sack lunches a day, Monday through Friday, to places like St. Matthew School and Seattle Nativity School, Shoultz said.

“What we are doing is just a small example of what is happening throughout the Catholic community at this difficult time,” said Kent Hickey, Seattle Prep’s president. “It’s a different kind of Lent, but very much in keeping with its meaning and purpose.”

“In scarcity, the Catholic community is abundant when it comes to care and generosity, the cornerstones of the Gospel,” Hickey added.

People at Prep — including Shoultz, facilities director Dan Wood and food services director/head chef Kenyetta Carter — have inspired Hickey “in their eagerness to help out those who are suffering at this time,” he added.

Shoultz said the feeding program will continue as long as needed, reaching as many people as possible.

“We are excited to see where it goes,” he said. “All at Prep are happy to be providing service during this hard time.”