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Ma’Jewz delivers hope with 100 holiday meals

BY BROOKE R. CANTRELLE

L’OBSERVATEUR

 

MEALS: Business may return as a nonprofit

 

GRAMERCY — It hasn’t been an easy year for Terrence Hayes and Earline Nabor of Ma’Jewz Eatery in Gramercy. In light of the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed, Hayes and Nabor felt called to uplift the people of St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes and remind them to keep marching forward.

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, hope was delivered in the form of an early Thanksgiving meal.

Hayes and Nabor prepared 100 plate lunches to give out to seniors at 234 E. Main Street in Gramercy. Each meal included baked chicken, sweet peas, yams, cornbread dressing, a dinner roll and a dessert for a full pre-Thanksgiving feast.

“It’s been a rough year, and we’re glad it’s almost over. We want to get back to the unity that we know we are in need of,” Hayes said. “The community has supported us so much, and this is just something to give back and say thank you. Even through these troubled times, we just want to show God is good and be a blessing for someone else.”

Though the pandemic took a serious toll on business this year, forcing the restaurant to close for the time being, Hayes and Nabor still feel blessed. Through the hardship, they see an opportunity for new beginnings and even greater community impact.

Ma’Jewz Eatery opened on Nov. 2, 2019 as a new location for the community to enjoy red beans and rice, gumbo, lima beans, fried turkey necks and other home style specialties. It was founded on the love between Hayes and Nabor, partners in the kitchen and in life. Nabor’s grandchildren affectionately call her “Ma,” while Hayes grew up with the nickname “Jew-Maica” as a reference to his family’s heritage.

As they came together, Ma’Jewz Eatery was formed.

“We were doing good at first. We had a lot of people that used to come support us every day,” Nabor said. “When the pandemic hit, that’s when our business started diminishing. We closed about two months ago due to COVID and our health risks. Hopefully next year we can come back, either as a restaurant or a nonprofit.”

Hayes said Wednesday’s Thanksgiving food giveaway for seniors was only the tip of the iceberg of the work he wants to do in the community.

He envisions starting a nonprofit called “TNC,” short for Total Needs Community.

“I want to do more of this next year. As a matter of fact, we are thinking about going on to be a nonprofit and just be a resource for health screenings, nutrition, counseling, education, getting back to work,” Hayes said. “It could be a place where you get a meal and maybe even tutoring for your kids in the evening.”

Hayes added that when you believe in God, anything is possible.