Weekly Letter (Feb 9, 2015)

Dear Parents and Students,

Mrs. Hanley and I enjoy watching The Food Network, but for very different reasons. “Chopped” is our favorite show and while Sandra looks for recipes and inventive ways to prepare old favorites, I watch because I love the competition and the judges’ criticism of the contestant-chefs. As I’m typing this letter, “Chopped” is showing a rerun from 2011 that features four school lunch ladies.

On a show that seems to attract viewers like me who see cooking as competitive as any NFL game, this episode is very different from the usual. Each of the school lunch ladies is rooting for her competitors. They are sharing ingredients as well as encouraging each other. Each has taken the opportunity to talk about the importance of feeding “my kids”. At the end of the show, each lunch lady was given a free five-day course at a culinary academy to help her become even better at her job than she was already. And the four competitors stood there crying and hugging each other.

It has long been my opinion that food is one of God’s great gifts to us. The Eucharist is food and that is not a coincidence. Feeding the hungry is one of the Corporal Works of Mercy and I have no doubt that “the great hunger” that my ancestors survived in the mid 19th century unfortunately has a corresponding tragedy in every family. The importance of having food to offer visitors seems to be part of every culture.

Some of you may remember a day several years ago when the lunch ladies were under the impression that we had a holiday so they didn’t come to school. By 11:30 several of us jumped into action. Mrs. Slade called three or four different pizza parlors and told them to send as many pizzas as they could within 45 minutes. Two Moms headed up Geary to pick up as much KFC as they could carry. Three teachers walked to the cafeteria style Chinese restaurant on 8th and Clement and bought all the food they had. Nobody went hungry that day.

So today, I want to thank all of you who have fed us: the lunch ladies, the Moms who bring us treats for the class or faculty room, the Dads who show up just before recess because lunch wasn’t ready when the kids were leaving, the parents who plan and carry out the Gala and the Crab Fest, and so many others. God bless all of you. 



Terrence Hanley


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