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A Family Tradition of Serving Others
By Vik Bensen, Programs & Aging Initiatives Associate
April 30, 2019
Describe what you do at Citymeals.
As part of the Programs Team, I work to support all of our local providers and partners. A major part of my duties is conducting annual visits to the meal centers we partner with to inspect their kitchens, go on meal deliveries with their staff, meet with their program directors, and write a report on my visit which I share with the Department of the Aging. Some of my other responsibilities include coordinating holiday meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Memorial Day, responding to calls from people interested in receiving meals, developing the expansion of our Mobile Food Pantry program, and allocating donated goods to our providers.
Are there older people that have played an important role in your life?
I count my Nonno, my mother’s father, as one of my biggest inspirations. An Italian immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1935, he worked tirelessly to achieve his dream of becoming a chef, culminating in a 40 year career running an Italian restaurant that bore his name – Rinaldo’s. Although he retired by the time I was born, I spent my childhood by his side making polenta and tending to his garden. He passed away when I was in middle school, but from him I inherited my passion for cooking, gardening, and reading.
What surprised you about working for Citymeals?
I was most surprised by the size of our staff – while it’s clear from the outside how much work goes into serving our meal recipients, I was impressed by how much our three to five person teams manage to coordinate and execute. The teams are small, but we collaborate and support each other in our daily commitment to serving homebound elderly New Yorkers the best we can.
Who do you most enjoy sharing a meal with?
My partner Rob! We value the time we spend preparing and sharing meals each day and have so much fun going on new cooking endeavors. We got a pasta roller for the holidays last year, and have been making lots of pasta, as well as dipping our toes into the realm of bread making!
What do you enjoy about working for Citymeals?
I feel lucky to have so much in my day-to-day work at Citymeals that I enjoy – the comraderie and humor of my colleagues, the variation in my duties, the opportunities for education and growth, and most importantly, helping our frail aged neighbors receive the meals they need.