60-year-old widow Doramise Moreau works past midnight in her tiny kitchen every Friday making fresh seasoning to marinate her meats and cooking authentic haitian food for people in need.
Moreau told NBC6 South Florida that she cooks 1,000 meals a week all by herself since the start of the pandemic. Her motto in life has been if she has something that someone needs she must help them and be a blessing of God.
She lives with her children, nephew and three grandchildren but cooks in the kitchen of a home built by Habitat for Humanity in 2017. Her days are strenuous and she doesn’t even think of complaining. . She works part-time as a janitor at a technical school, walking or taking the bus. But the work of her heart, the reason she rises each morning, is to feed the hungry.
The good samaritan explains that as a little girl in Haiti, she often took food from her parents’ pantry such as dried rice and beans, onions or an ear of corn to give to someone who needed it.
“Sometimes when you’re looking at people in their face, they don’t need to ask you,” she explained. “You can see they need something.”
Decades later, Moreau is still feeding the hungry.
She borrows the church truck to buy groceries on Thursday and Friday and cooks into the wee hours of the night for Saturday’s feedings. Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church pays for the food, relying on donations. Moreau prepares the meals singlehandedly, while church volunteers serve or deliver them to shut-ins.
“Americans, Spanish, Haitian, they come here,” she said. “Even when I’m closing, they say, ’Please, can I have some,’ and I give it to them, because if they go home and have nothing it hurts my feelings.”
Moreau also feeds people back in her little village north of Port-au-Prince. Despite her smaller salary, she sends food pallets monthly to her sisters and brother, nieces, nephews and neighbors, telling her sister over the phone to make sure this person gets a bag of rice and that person gets the sardines.
“She takes care of everybody from A to Z,” said Reginald Jean-Mary, pastor at the church. “She’s a true servant. She goes beyond the scope of work to be a presence of hope and compassion for others.”
A few years ago when the church couldn’t afford to hire a cleaning crew, Moreau offered to do it for a negligible sum. She does it with a cheerful heart.
And until recently, she’s done it all without a car.
But last month, Moreau was surprised with a new Toyota Corolla topped with a big red bow. As part of a local anti-poverty initiative, community leaders nominate residents known for community service. The Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation purchases the cars wholesale through a grant, and Moreau pays $125 a month and will own it after three years.
With her janitorial job and all her work at the church, people often ask Moreau if she’s exhausted. But she says she is fueled by her faith.
“I can keep all the money for myself and never give anyone a penny,” she said. “But if you give from your heart and never think about yourself, God will provide for you every day. The refrigerator will never be without food.”
We salute you Ms. Moreau. May God continue to cover and bless you.