Together We Will Award nominees

Photo by John Cornicello

Director of Communications Maria Lamarca Anderson is one of 20 staff members from across the University of Washington selected for a Together We Will Award of Excellence. And, she is just one of the staffers whose work during the coronavirus pandemic drew the admiration of colleagues. 

Her nomination cited the thousands of meals she has delivered on her own time to unsheltered people in Seattle. That service is a continuation of the kind of work she has carried out for more than 20 years. 

Photo by Christa Kemp

She, by her example, provides an informal but powerful education on how we can make an impact,” a colleague who nominated her said of Lamarca Anderson, who also received the UW Bothell 2021 Community Engagement Award

Outstanding people for challenging times 

The UW Staff Together We Will Award was created to celebrate outstanding staff contributions during the extraordinary challenges of 2020. They were a temporary replacement for the Distinguished Staff Award program, which will be back later this year.  

The Together We Will Awards recognize essential UW staff, those who made the pivot to remote operations possible, people who ensured programs are inclusive and equitable, and staff who went above and beyond to support colleagues and the greater community. 

Michael Anderson, Maria Lamarca Anderson

Lamarca Anderson is not alone. Many of the Together We Will Award nominees are recognized on the UW Kudoboard. At UW Bothell, she was one of 15 staff members nominated, with more than 500 nominees University-wide. 

“It is an extreme honor to be chosen for this award,” said Lamarca Anderson. “Every staff member at UW Bothell, and in fact across the University, went above and beyond to support our students, faculty and community as we navigated the remote learning and working environment. 

“We all carry the spirit of ‘together we will.’” 

Together we will 

Lamarca Anderson points out that same spirit infuses her meal distribution three days a week. At the beginning of the lockdown several restaurant owners anticipated the increased need for food as resources and shelters closed and decided to offer nutritious meals for free even though the restaurants were not fully operational. “I am in awe of these restaurants and their BIPOC owners for their commitment to the community. They embody what so many have maintained throughout these times: We are all in this together,” she said. “They are small, not part of a chain, and therefore had to dig deep to pay not only for the food they were giving away but also for the staff preparing it. While they have received some donations, it was certainly nowhere near enough to cover all the expenses. 

“I accept this award in their honor.” 

Since March 2020, Lamarca Anderson has delivered more than 9,000 meals from Musang SeattleSugar Hill and Chef Tarik Abdullah with Feed the People. Family and friends have supplemented the deliveries with protein snacks and sweet treats, and supplies such as socks, gloves, hats, hand warmers and jackets. Her favorite hashtag is #wealldowhatwecan. 

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