As Hurricane Ian approaches, schools turn into shelters, cafeteria workers start cooking

Many workers will stay and serve food, too
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Posted at 10:21 AM, Sep 27, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. — Hundreds of cafeteria workers in Hillsborough County are in full hero mode, preparing meals for thousands of people who will seek shelter during Hurricane Ian.

Hillsborough County Schools in the Tampa region are providing more than 60 shelters for the storm, which means lodging and food.

Florida Gov. DeSantis estimated that 2.5 million Florida residents are in evacuation zones.

Many of those same workers who started prepping meatballs, pizza and popcorn chicken at 5 a.m. on Monday will also stay at their schools during the storm and serve food to people in need.

"It won't be the Ritz Carlton," Sickles High School Student Nutrition Services manager Steve Lunin said. "But we're going to make it as tolerable for people during an intolerable time as we can."

For Surayma Caraballo at Pizzo K-8, it makes no difference if she's cooking for students or residents.

Her job is to be of service to people who need her.

"It's a blessing to take care of the community," she said. "To give them a little food, something to comfort them, to make it feel like home."

This article was written by Sean Daly for WFTS.