The Citymeals Blog

Food for Though
New portrait of Citymeals recipient at our Bronx Distribution Center

A Fresh Coat of Paint

The Citymeals Distribution Center in the Bronx has received a glow up with new hand-painted portraits of the older New Yorkers we serve.

The warehouse in Hunts Point is the hub of Citymeals’ ready-to-eat meal program and emergency response operations. Almost 1.5 million meals originate here each year. Now, larger-than-life portraits of some of our meal recipients adorn the side of the building, bringing a pop of color to this industrial neighborhood. These murals, painted by the team at Colossal Media, stand 21 feet tall and 14 feet wide. Artists spent nearly 200 hours on this painstaking work.

Portrait of Audrey

In 2018, vinyl portraits were applied on the Distribution Center's exterior, which degraded over time. To bring more longevity and a human touch to these portraits, Citymeals collaborated with Colossal Media, which specializes in hand-painted outdoor advertising — the kind of large-scale projects that regularly appear in SoHo. Colossal provided in-kind value throughout the project, including pre-production hours, a dedicated team of on-site painters, material resources, and more to help realize these four photorealistic portraits of Citymeals’ meal recipients -- illustrating the vitality of older New Yorkers, who are often hidden behind closed doors. 

An artist for Colossal Media uses a photograph of Audrey, a Citymeals recipient, to paint a hyper realistic portrait on brick.
An artist for Colossal Media uses a photograph of Audrey, a Citymeals recipient, to paint a hyper realistic portrait on brick.

Like 94-year-old Audrey, who grew up in Queens. She went on to work at NBC during the golden age of television. That’s how she met her husband, Jack. He passed away eleven years ago. Audrey still lives in the apartment they called home and now struggles with isolation. Due to mobility issues, she rarely leaves her apartment. “The meals are a godsend. I don’t know what I’d do without them,” she says.

Betty, Citymeals recipient

Marie has been a Citymeals meal recipient for seventeen years. Originally from Haiti, she worked in nursing homes for decades caring for older people. Now, at 87 years old, she’s the one who needs help. Though her daughter visits regularly, she can’t be there for her mother every day. Home-delivered meals allow Marie to remain in her home on the Upper West Side.

Portrait of Barry, Citymeals recipient

Barry trained as a chef and worked for decades as a restaurateur. “My joy has always been cooking,” the 87-year-old says. These days, Parkinson’s Disease makes it impossible for him to lift pots and pans. He relies on Citymeals to provide him with delicious, nourishing meals.

These vibrant recipients are just a few of the over 22,000 older New Yorkers we serve. Working in partnership with community-based organizations and older adult centers, Citymeals prepared and delivered nearly 2 million weekend, holiday, and emergency meals last year. Last year, nearly 14,000 volunteers provided 50,000 hours of support to Citymeals’ mission, including packing meals at the Distribution Center.

These artful images show the vitality our meal recipients still possess and how they remain valued members of our community.

Food For Thought