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Vashon Island lunch lady cooks up comfort and content

She has over 74,000 followers on TikTok. #k5evening

VASHON, Wash. — Even at a young age, Tacoma's Chantel Jackson knew what she wanted to do when she grew up.

"It's always been my dream to be a lunch lady. Like, most people want to be like, you know, a ballerina, or like, a doctor. Like, lunch lady is my thing,"

For almost two years, Jackson has been the food service manager at Camp Sealth on Vashon Island.

"Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It could be anywhere from 10 people that already lived here, like a year on staff, or up to 500 with the campers.
Food is healing. And I just love being able to provide people comfort."

But Jackson doesn't just serve up comfort. She also creates content too.

"So I've always been a social media person," Jackson said. "TikTok came around and I was like, 'Oh, this is my cup of tea,' because I'm animated, and it's just quick little videos. It's over. And TikTok became my number one platform that I love so much."

"My TikTok is a combination of funny things. So, one is me being the lunch lady at Camp Sealth, so me sharing recipes, me being a staff at camp, so just funny camp stuff."

Jackson's TikTok videos have been liked over 2.5 million times. And she currently has 74,000 followers.

"I don't even know how I got all these followers because I think I'm crazy and people follow me here, you gotta be crazier."

Her videos aren't all fun and food. When Jackson saw a need for more underserved kids to experience the fun of camp, she cooked up an idea.  

"I was like, hey, I want to start a fund for kids of color so they can be able to come here? And they're like, 'Yeah, we're all for it, let's do it.'"

After the camp's director spotted the fund $10,000, Jackson's TikTok followers chipped in as well.

"It went viral, like, probably like 300,000 views. And people started donating all over the country. We want to see more kids of color come to camp."

So far the Camp Fire Equity Action Fund has raised enough money to send 40 kids to Camp Sealth, making this lunch lady one happy camper.

"This is like a dream come true. It is a dream that would have never even imagined for myself. It’s just something that aligned with my destiny. And here we are."

If you would like to contribute to Camp Sealth's Equity Action Fund click here.

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