Earnestine Hayes was a young bride in 1943 when she moved north from Louisiana, searching for job opportunities and a better life.
She and her husband, Morris, found that in West Oakland, where they worked factory and domestic jobs during World War II and afterward. They briefly moved to Berkeley before putting down permanent roots in East Oakland in 1966.
And though her home is still as immaculate as it was in the 1960s — you would be hard-pressed to find even a speck of dust under the furniture enshrined in plastic — Hayes still needs a little help.
Morris died in 1994, and the couple never had children. Though Hayes is still happily independent, she has trouble getting to the grocery store and preparing meals.
The 92-year-old has relied on Service Opportunities for Seniors/Meals on Wheels food delivery for more than three years to ensure she’s getting proper nutrition.
“I’m just sincerely thankful and grateful,” Hayes said. “There are elders out there who can’t get out, and they depend on this.”