Citymeals on Wheels History and Guiding Principles


Gael Greene and James Beard founded Citymeals on Wheels in 1981 after reading a newspaper article about homebound elderly New Yorkers with nothing to eat on weekends and holidays. They rallied their friends in the restaurant community to raise private funds as a supplement to the government-funded weekday meal delivery program. Thirty-one years ago, their first efforts brought a Christmas meal to 6,000 frail aged.

During the past fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2014, Citymeals on Wheels delivered 2 million meals to more than 18,000 New Yorkers at times when they would otherwise have been alone and hungry.

guiding principles

1. We have deep respect for and a moral commitment to the people we serve. We want New York City’s frail, isolated elderly to know that they are not alone and they have not been forgotten.

We treasure the wisdom and experience of our elderly neighbors. They are a living history of New York City, deserving of respect.


2. We value every donor, large and small, and we are accountable to them as to how their contributions are spent.

We are committed to using 100% of donations from the general public exclusively for the preparation and delivery of meals. Every donor should know exactly how his or her donation is spent.

All administrative costs will be covered through designated funds from government, foundations, board members, and corporations.


3. We are committed to excellence and leadership in non-profit management. In cooperation with the New York City Department for the Aging, we aim to be a model for public-private partnerships.

We value efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and measurable “bottom-line” results.

We strive for constant innovation and bold entrepreneurship.


long-range goal

To ensure that every homebound elderly New Yorker in need has access to 100% of the daily nutrients required for optimum health.