The Citymeals Blog

Food for Though
An older woman with light brown skin and grey hair holding an award in front of blue balloons.

Honoring Our STARs

Our resolute kitchen staff, meal deliverers, case managers and coordinators are at the heart of Citymeals' work, ensuring homebound elderly New Yorkers receive nutritious meals and companionship – no matter what.

Throughout the pandemic, they worked on the frontlines ensuring that our recipients remained nourished and connected during the hardest time. More recently, as the city’s emergency food programs came to an end, these teams worked tirelessly to help hundreds of older New Yorkers, still in need of food support, begin receiving meals on wheels and other supportive services. 

Our annual STAR Awards recognizes their vital service. Learn what makes a few of our awardees shine extra bright!

Case Managers

Dhianne Madera, a young woman with dark hair, holds her award certificate and smiles.
Dhianne is a case manager at R.A.I.N. in the Bronx

As a case manager in the Bronx, Dhianne knew something was wrong when one of her meal recipients didn't answer the door. She decided to make an emergency home visit and immediately called 911 when she discovered her client had been on the floor for hours with the gas on. Dhianne is known for going above and beyond, but on that day her quick thinking saved the woman's life.

Volunteer Eli (left) holds his award standing next to Citymeals staff member Cesar
Eli is a meals on wheels coordinator at Sunnyside Community Services

Eli coordinates home-delivered meals for two community districts in Queens, bringing new meal recipients onto our routes and managing recipient’s issues. Facing a growing list of new meal recipients during the pandemic, Eli helped the program expand and managed the addition of yet more recipients, when the city’s Recovery Meals program came to an end. His seamless organization held the program together under extraordinary circumstances.

Kitchen Staff

Josie, a young woman in a white t-shirt with red hair, holds her award certificate
Josie manages the kitchen at Meals on Wheels of Staten Island.

Josie arrives at the kitchen in Staten Island at 4 am each day. For seven years, she has worked tirelessly, rising from a kitchen aide to manager overseeing the preparation of thousands of meals every day. She makes sure that recipients with special dietary needs are accommodated and, throughout the pandemic, made sure the kitchen staff and volunteers operated safely.

Meal Deliverers

Dwayne, a middle-aged African-American man, poses with his award with Citymeals staff member.
Dwayne, left, is a deliverer with Riseboro in Brooklyn.

Dwayne Davis and Willie Alvarado are both meal deliverers in Brooklyn who are always stepping up to support their colleagues and meal recipients, when logistics are challenging. Dwayne often takes on extra deliveries, when he finishes his own route, and even steps in to help in the kitchen. Willie, too, regularly fills in to drive and deliver additional meals to recipients in need and covers more difficult routes. These dependable gentlemen are definitely shining stars! 

Food For Thought