In addition to serving as counsel at McGuire Woods and mother to four children under 10 years old, Elissa Moore also counts herself as an avid supporter of NC MedAssist. Here, she tells us why she cares, why others should too, how she’s weaving a philanthropic spirit into her family, and where to get the best coffee in Charlotte (and it’s not in a restaurant).
Why did you become a supporter of NC MedAssist? And why do you stay involved?
I am passionate about health and wellness and access to healthcare for all people. As a corporate healthcare attorney, I am dealing with healthcare from the 20,000 foot level. I wanted to get on the ground level and help people with their healthcare needs. Involvement in MedAssist allows me to do that. I continue to stay involved because I can see the immediate impact that NC MedAssist makes - delivering lifesaving drugs to people who need them allowing them to continue working or living comfortably and also through our free drugstore where people can get over the counter drug store items that they would otherwise not be able to afford. It is always humbling to see the line to get into the drug store.
What do you wish our community knew about NC MedAssist or the people they serve?
When you are healthy and able to pay for prescription and over the counter medication, it is easy to forget that our health is the foundation for our lives. So many people are struggling with chronic conditions that make everyday life so difficult and that require medication. For those who are uninsured or underinsured, the expense of daily medication can mean they have to make impossible choices between, for example, food or medicine. Or for people who are struggling to make ends meet, they can’t just walk into the drugstore and buy the over the counter medicine such as tylenol that may help prevent a trip to the ER. MedAssist fills the gap for these people. It serves a critical purpose.
What is your earliest memory of giving back?
I can remember my family “adopting” a refugee family from Poland who came to the US after the iron curtain fell. We went over to their house with Christmas gifts and I remember being shocked at how little they had. We continued to support them financially and with our time. This family taught me so much – the sacrifices people will make for their children and freedom, resilience, courage. It inspired in me a desire to give and share whatever and whenever I can.
What ways have you tried to instill generosity and interest in the broader community in your children?
I feel so grateful for all that I have and how lucky my family and I are to be healthy, to have a home, to be able to eat healthy food, to not want for any necessities. It is critical to me that my children understand this fortunate position. We talk regularly around the dinner table about all of the gifts we have and how we can share our gifts with the community. I talk about my work with MedAssist as well as the other organizations I am involved with and I hope that serves as an example to them of giving back. My 4 kids are all under 10 so they are still pretty young but we are able to volunteer at the MedAssist drugstore and organize the shelves. In addition, their school does a great job of community giving and so they participate in that as well. They love getting involved and I hope they will continue to do so.
What local community issue is most concerning to you?
How health and wellness and access to healthcare impact economic mobility. We have all heard about Charlotte’s dismal rate of economic mobility but healthcare was not a key consideration in the economic mobility report or subsequent discussions. It needs to be.
Who is Charlotte’s unsung hero, making the community better behind the scenes?
The health care professionals who are on the front lines of providing care for the underserved in our community and the healthcare not for profits that serve these individuals. Organizations like MedAssist and CareRing are truly making a difference in the health of our community by seeing the struggle of the uninsurned and underinsured. It’s largely an invisible struggle and those practitioners and organizations that are helping minimize or erase the struggle for these people are making our community stronger. Again, if you are healthy you can work, raise a family, go to school, participate in the community and so on and so forth.
What are your favorite local small businesses?
Dunx coffee at Blackhawk for an amazing coffee, Aix-en-Provence on Providence for their moules frites, Poppy’s Bagels for…bagels(!), Laurel Market for a great lunchtime treat – can you tell I like to eat??