It's more than just a meal
By By LYDIA GRIMES Features writer
The Christmas holidays brings forth prospects of lots of food, gifts, family and special friends. It is a short period of time when good will seems to abound, but when that time ends, it's back to the routine.
There are many elderly people in the community who depend upon people such as the subject of this week's profile for daily meals.
Liz Moye doesn't think of herself as being special. She is even somewhat embarrassed to be singled out for helping to make someone's day brighter and that makes what she does even more special.
Moye is the driver who delivers "meals on wheels" for the Nutrition Center which is located at St. Maurice Catholic Church. The Nutrition Center has been in the business of serving hot meals to the elderly for a number of years at the church as part of the services offered by the Escambia County Mental Health Association. It is privately funded and is limited in the number of meals it can provide. The United Fund is one of the contributors to the program. There are currently around 35 people who are fed at the church and around 25 meals delivered by Moye. Not only do the workers provide meals, but those individuals who work at the church have made room in their hearts for the people they serve.
In the 1980s some people saw the need for a place to serve hot meals and provide activities for the elderly of the community. Father Mike McGinnis at St. Maurice stepped up and volunteered the church facilities and since that time the church has added a fellowship hall which today provides a number of people a pleasant place to go, socialize and have a hot meal.
The hot meals are provided by Valley Services, a catering service from Mobile. The meals are delivered each morning in containers that keep the food hot, or cold, for those who come to the center and those who are not able to come to the center. That is where Liz Moye comes in. She is there every morning to pick up the meals to deliver to those in the community who are home bound. And those who receive the home-delivered meals do have to be home bound. If they are able to get out of the home to shop and move around, they do not qualify for the service.
For those who live outside of the area Moye can deliver, there is a frozen meal program where several meals can be delivered at the same time to those who live several miles outside of town.
Wendy Cooper, director of the Nutrition Center, is quick to praise Moye's work.
Cooper and Moye were there after Hurricane Ivan for their customers. Just as soon as they could get out, they were making the rounds to see how about their "flock." The center was closed for a little more than a week, but the "Meals on Wheels" customers were carried hot coffee and shelf meals, which are really canned goods and things that did not need refrigeration.
But Moye delivers more than food to the 25 people she sees every day. She is, many times, the only person the shut-in is going to see on a daily basis.
Talking to the elderly on her route is one of the things she does, but it is so much more. When she arrives at the home, she knocks on the door, but there have been times when no one would answer. She doesn't just walk away.
For those who have family members who are on the list for "Meals on Wheels," it is comforting to know that someone is going to be checking on them every day. They know that someone is going to be stopping by.
Moye was born and reared in the North Brewton area. She attended North Brewton School and W.S. Neal High School. She got married and had two sons, Chris and Luther McRae. She was a stay-at-home mother and a school bus driver when the boys got a little older. She worked as a teacher's aid for about 10 years, but when her mother got sick she quit and stayed at home with her for four years before her death. She went back to driving a school bus with the Escambia County School System in 2001 as a substitute and now is a regular driver.
She began working with the Nutrition Center in August of this year.
She was married in 1984 to Clifford Moye. Her son, Chris, is in the U.S. Navy and stationed in Virginia. He is the father of her grandchildren, Tyler, Jordan and Paige. Her son, Luther, lives in Auburn and works with the USDA.
She says she loves to cook, sew, garden and do crafts. She also has a collection of angels.