In November 1981, longtime New York magazine restaurant critic Gael Greene had no idea her simple morning ritual would impact the lives of millions. But as she read the paper just a few days before Thanksgiving she noticed an article describing the plight of frail aged New Yorkers facing hunger, and was shocked to learn they were not receiving meal deliveries on weekends and holidays.
“I picked up my phone and dialed the Department for the Aging to express outrage that in a city of such abundance, we could not care for our elderly neighbors in need,” Greene remembers. Joining forces with legendary cookbook author and teacher James Beard, they quickly raised funds to deliver 6,000 meals that Christmas — and thus established Citymeals on Wheels.
Since 1981 we have become a lifeline for the city’s homebound elderly who can no longer shop or cook for themselves. “You and I may take for granted the ability to run out in a storm to get some milk and eggs, or the chance to spend a holiday with family and friends, but these are luxuries our meal recipients don’t have,” explains Founding Executive Director Marcia Stein.
In December 2014, Citymeals marked an extraordinary milestone as we delivered our 50 millionth meal. Citymeals Co-Founder and Board Chair Greene joined Stein and current executive director Beth Shapiro to deliver the 50 millionth meal to 71-year-old Florence on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.