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Among Close Friends
By Catharine Bufalino, Marketing & Communications Manager
May 17, 2019
“It’s always nice to be in a room full of people with something in common,” said Jo-Ann Makovitsky, restaurateur and member of the Citymeals Culinary Circle, welcoming a group of longtime Citymeals supporters on Monday night. The get-together was an opportunity to meet and thank some of our most loyal donors, including members of our Month of Sundays club.
The evening was made all the more special by a panel discussion with actor Kathleen Turner and Chef Charlie Palmer, both Citymeals Board Members, and Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro, who spoke about their personal connection to our mission.
For Kathleen, Citymeals is a hands-on philanthropic commitment, she said. She regularly delivers meals to her frail aged neighbors especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas – now a tradition for her family.
Kathleen explained that her favorite neighborhood to deliver meals in is the Theater District in Midtown Manhattan, where many retired singers, dancers and actors live in rent-controlled apartments. “They are in fourth or fifth floor walk-ups and can’t do stairs anymore. So they feel very trapped.” She recalled meeting a woman whose living room wall was covered in playbills from shows she’d been in over the years. “I thought, what a treasure! To have had that life and those memories.”
Chef Charlie Palmer also recalled his first meal delivery for Citymeals, on a rainy Thanksgiving Day in the 1980s. He prepared over a hundred meals that day and was joined by his two young sons, who helped deliver the meals. “My entire life has been spent nourishing and feeding people,” he told the intimate crowd that night. “But I didn’t understand the magnitude of Citymeals and the impact it has until I started going on meal deliveries.”
“As New Yorkers, it’s our duty to take care of each other,” Charlie added.
The senior population is growing faster than any other demographic in the city. Already, older adults outnumber children – for the first time in the city’s history. And as this group grows rapidly, so too does the demand for home-delivered meals.
Florence Kaufman, a loyal donor to Citymeals, spoke to the group about going on a meal delivery and seeing first-hand the impact of her support. “I was not aware that the person delivering the meal is probably the only person that recipient is going to see that day,” she said. “To me, that’s as touching as giving them food.”
Thanking everyone that night for their loyal support, Beth Shapiro reminded them 100% of their gifts go toward the preparation and delivery of meals. "Indeed, Citymeals could not exist without the goodness of New Yorkers."