Cooking from the Heart: Little Haiti parish member heeds call to feed the hungry

(WSVN) - COVID has caused suffering of all kinds, but loss of jobs and support have caused some people in South Florida to go hungry. 7’s Karen Hensel shows us how one woman is working to change that.

It’s Friday night, and at Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church in Miami, it’s time to start cooking.

Doramise Moreau: “I’m going to clean them.”

Parish member Doramise Moreau is in charge of the mission in the kitchen. Throughout the night and into the morning, she and other volunteers will prep and cook eight 40-pound cases of turkey, chicken and pork.

Doramise Moreau: “It’s got ice on it. We’re trying to remove the ice.”

They work through the night to feed those in the community who don’t have enough to eat.

Doramise Moreau: “Put meat in there, put water in there, so it can go more faster.

Her calling started when Doramise was a child in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Doramise Moreau: “Whatever I get, I give to the people.”

Even though she’d get in trouble, Doramise would take food from her parents’ kitchen and give it to hungry neighbors.

Doramise Moreau: “My mom whoop me again, and I run, I say, ‘You whoop me today, you whoop me tomorrow, I’m still going to do it.'”

She was determined then, and she is determined now. When COVID hit, and people in the parish lost jobs, she worked with the church to start feeding people again.

Father Reginald Jean-Mary, Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church: “She would take the jitney, the buses, to go and do the groceries, and then she came back. She spent the whole night preparing the meals.”

Father Reginald Jean-Mary says they couldn’t do it without her.

Father Reginald Jean-Mary: “I did not have money to pay a restaurant to cook all those meals for us, and so Doramise said, ‘I’ll do it,’ and I said to myself, ‘How is she going to be able to do that?’ And you know what? She did it! She’s an inspiration to many, to all of us.

Doramise Moreau: “That’s for flavor.”

Doramise works as a school janitor during the day, and here at night, she supervises as the food is prepared with loving care, from the fresh vegetables and herbs to the marinades.

Doramise Moreau: “That’s the way Haitian ladies make their food.”

Through the night, the stoves, ovens and fryers are busy, and as the sun comes up, more volunteers arrive to help.

Immacula Charles, volunteer: “We love cooking. When you love something, it’s not hard. We try. We try our best to help.”

All of those here feel the call to help people who have been hit hard this past year.

Baliston Elidor, volunteer: “It is very, very, very important, because a lot of people in the community, they say, ‘Oh, in the past three days, I don’t eat nothing.'”

Beginning in March, Doramise and the other volunteers cooked more than 1,000 meals every week. Now, funds are starting to stretch thin, but she is determined to find ways to continue.

Doramise Moreau: “I’m never going to stop. If I don’t have money, I need everybody to go together, and I need somebody to donate, put it together and feed the people.”

When late morning comes, Doramise and her volunteers are ready with hot platters of the spiced meats, pasta, and beans and rice. The food is transferred to individual meal containers and loaded in the back of the truck.

This day, senior residents at Peter’s Plaza Apartments and St. Mary’s Towers are served the delicious hot meals.

Senior resident: “Good, it’s good.”

Those simple words are just what Doramise loves to hear.

Doramise Moreau: “You don’t have a million [dollars] to give people, but if you feed them, that’s a big love you could give them. I’m never going to stop.”

Cooking from the heart to help those in need.

If you’d like to donate to the church’s food program, contact Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church
110 NE 62nd St.
Miami, FL 33138
305-751-6289
notredamedhaiti.org

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