Emergency Meals

When the unexpected arises, Citymeals is always ready to respond. If one thing is sure, Citymeals aims to be prepared. We don’t want anything to delay our regular meal deliveries — whether it’s a power outage, a winter blizzard or massive flooding. As the main emergency meal responder for the city’s aging population, it is our duty to ensure we are there for our most vulnerable neighbors during times of crisis.

When a gas leak forced one of the meal centers we partner with to close, Citymeals mobilized staff and volunteers to deliver 2,600 shelf-stable emergency meals to our frail aged neighbors in the affected area. When the meal center was unable to reopen its kitchen the following day, Citymeals delivered another 1,500 nonperishable meals. 

When the community is IN need, Citymeals on Wheels is there to provide nourishing food to seniors — often with a bright smile and a warm hug.

- Councilwoman Margaret Chin

Citymeals Hurricane Sandy Emergency
Packing and delivering Emergency Meals at our warehouse after Hurricane Sandy in 2012

Back in 2012, Hurricane Sandy unexpectedly brought devastation throughout New York City. Thousands of people were left stranded in their homes with no heat, electricity and often no running water. In the weeks that followed, we delivered 64,595 emergency meals to vulnerable older men and women.

With lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, we increased our emergency preparedness efforts and, in 2018, opened the Joan & Bob Tisch Emergency Meal Distribution Center in the Bronx. With the new warehouse, we have doubled the number of emergency meal bags available for distribution at any time and now store food for 55,000 additional meals, ready to be packed and distributed at a moment's notice. If emergencies like blizzards, heatwaves or hurricanes disrupt regular meal deliveries, Citymeals steps in and provides emergency bags – each containing two shelf-stable meals – and a sense of security.

In Fiscal Year 2020, we delivered 554,600 emergency meals.

Read press coverage of our new Emergency Meal Distribution Center.