Resident continues 30-year labor of love in holiday meal

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 18, 2005

Zack Moak circles the dining area offering second helpings ofturkey or ham to area nursing-home and home-bound residents.

For roughly 30 years, Moak has been bringing the residentstogether for an early Thanksgiving feast. On Thursday, more than200 people gathered for the event at Western Sizzlin.

“This is something that really and truly thrills my heart,” Moaksaid during a brief break from serving and visiting withguests.

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Moak said he begins planning for the dinner in July. His church,First Baptist, banks and other local businesses help him carry outhis annual plans.

“People in the community support it, and I just do the footwork,” Moak said.

Business employees, fellow church members, and youths, joinedMoak Thursday to help as servers. They marveled at Moak’senthusiasm for the dinner.

“It’s a community thing and a Zack Moak thing,” the Rev. GregWarnock said of the dinner.

In addition to his Thanksgiving dinner plans, Moak teaches fiveSunday school classes each week, Warnock said. Moak teaches asenior citizens’ class at First Baptist and also travels to fourlocal nursing homes to visit with residents and teach lessons.

“He has touched all their lives for years,” Warnock said.

At the dinner Moak said he enjoys seeing familiar faces and newones from year to year.

“Some of them never get out of the rest home except for a daylike today,” Moak said. “It’s a joy for me to do something forthem.”

Debbie Cosnahan, admissions director at CountryBrook LivingCenter, said residents also enjoy seeing their friends and comingtogether each year. She and Moak said residents talk about thedinner for months ahead of time and for months afterward.

“They really look forward to it,” Cosnahan said, whileexpressing appreciation to Moak and others for their efforts. “It’ssomething they anticipate months before the event.”

Joyce Cooks, a resident of Haven Hall, was making her secondThanksgiving dinner Thursday. She was joined by her brother BenniePerkins, of Bogue Chitto, who enjoyed sharing in the experiencewith the large group.

“It’s great, and you see a lot of new faces from last year,”Perkins said. “We’re really blessed here.”