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Love at All Ages
By Ariel Goltche, Marketing & Communications Associate
February 14, 2020
As part of the Marketing & Communications Department at Citymeals, I’m out each week meeting and talking with many of the 18,414 older New Yorkers who rely on us for home-delivered meals. During our conversations, I learn about the meaningful relationships they’ve had throughout their lives – from finding love to becoming a parent. Often, they tell me about the loss of their partners, and in the worst cases, their own children. Despite the grief they face later in life, most light up when they are asked about the people they have loved.
Josephine began working as a nanny when she was just 15 years old. It wasn’t until after she retired and she was in her 50s that Josephine and her husband decided to adopt their first child, a baby girl named Cynthia. At 102, Josephine still gushes about her daughter, who is now an aging grandmother herself, unable to look after her mother. In chatting with Josephine, she was quick to pull out her family’s photo albums. “Praise God, I love that girl!”
86-year-old John’s eyes twinkled as he recalled meeting his wife Margaret for the first time, explaining she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Friends at church introduced them one day and before long the two were inseparable. Since losing Margaret to cancer four years ago, facing the future has become daunting. The pair relied on each other in countless ways. Now, John is continuously grateful for Citymeals, “My wife did most of the cooking, so your meals are very helpful to me now.”
Following high school, Audrey got a job at NBC, where she met her husband-to-be, Jack. When asked about their wedding, she laughed recalling how the simple affair with friends turned into a boisterous roast of the newlyweds. Five years ago, Audrey’s world changed when Jack suffered from a stroke. She visited him daily in the hospital and one night before she headed home, Jack pulled her in for a long kiss. Her beloved partner passed just moments after she left. “I cry a lot,” Audrey admits today.
For our isolated older neighbors like Josephine, John and Audrey, a regular check-in from their Citymeals deliverer reminds them they are not alone. This Valentine’s Day, when many New Yorkers are spending the day with friends and loved ones, I’m thinking of the Citymeals recipients who have lost those closest to them.