Friday, June 19, 2020

When Evalynn Fae Taganna Romano (MSW ’20, MPH ’21) read about community members serving meals to healthcare workers, she immediately wondered why custodial workers were not shown the same appreciation. After all, she thought, they too are essential workers who are not able to “stay home, stay healthy.”

To launch the outreach project, Evalynn contacted university departments, asking students and faculty not only for donations but also to contribute thank-you notes and letters of appreciation.  With the funds she raised, she purchased bread from Delite Bakery, a Filipino bakery on Beacon Hill, coffee supplies and gift cards. A few individuals also donated coffee beans or sewed face masks. 

“This has truly been a community effort in spreading the word, donating coffee beans, sewing masks, creating thank you notes, picking up bread from Delite Bakery, providing funds, and sharing nice words of encouragement and thanks,” said Evalynn. 

This project is a natural for Evalynn, who plans to pursue a career as a mental health clinician and public health researcher. She is also a lead organizer of Bayanihan Response to COVID-19, a campaign that supports the Filipino community. 

It is also very personal for her. Her late father was a custodian at the UW for 25 years and her mother has been a UW custodian for 31 years. 

The university’s custodial services team – from maintenance custodians to window washers—as well as recycling operations staff appreciated her efforts. “Her kindness during the past few months has brightened everyone’s day and has made people feel even more appreciated during these tough times,” says Gene Woodard, UW director of building services.

Evalynn will continue her custodial appreciation efforts through June 26. If you’d like to know how you can help, contact her at