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A Major Milestone
By Beth Shapiro, Executive Director
November 20, 2018
This fall Citymeals marked a major milestone in our organization’s history with the opening of The Joan & Bob Tisch Emergency Meal Distribution Center in the Bronx. The 25,000-square foot warehouse facility dramatically expands our capacity to meet the needs of New York City’s growing senior population. Now home to more than 1.4 million people over the age of 60, the city’s senior population is expected to grow 40% by 2040.
Since our founding 37 years ago, this is Citymeals' first real estate purchase. It was made possible with a cornerstone gift from the Tisch family, who have supported Citymeals and the fight again elder hunger from our earliest days.
Citymeals delivers 2 million meals each year and a third of those come from our warehouse – over 400,000 meals. These are shelf-stable holiday meal boxes delivered when meal centers close, Emergency Food Packages delivered prior to harsh winter weather, and meals delivered in case of local emergencies.
As the designated emergency responder for the city’s senior population, Citymeals takes preparedness seriously. The new warehouse enables us to double the number of packed shelf-stable food boxes we have on hand. It also allows us to store nonperishable food for 55,000 additional meals in case of emergencies, ready to be packed and distributed at a moment’s notice.
Audrey, now 89, worked at NBC for 30 years.
The building’s new façade was designed and donated by Board Member David Rockwell, Founder and President of the Rockwell Group. It introduces New Yorkers to their isolated elderly neighbors with larger-than-life portraits of Citymeals recipients. Too old and frail to shop and cook for themselves, they are often hidden behind closed doors – but their vitality is brought to life here.
Once a nurses’ aide, 83-year old Marie (left) now has debilitating back pain from years of work.
Barry (right), age 83, suffers from Parkinson’s disease after nearly 50 years as a chef.
The new warehouse has also allowed us to expand Citymeals’ Mobile Food Pantry, which provides supplementary meals for recipients most at risk for malnourishment. New refrigerators allow us to store fruit and vegetables for delivery to meal recipients who live in areas with poor access to fresh produce.
The warehouse provides additional space to operate a weekend meal delivery program for recipients in the Bronx. And allows us to accommodate up to 300 volunteers at one time to help pack shelf-stable meals in support of their frail aged neighbors.
Citymeals is grateful to everyone who donated their services to make this project possible, including Rockwell Group for the exterior design, Eric Vitale Photography for the portraits of our meal recipients, Riot Creative Imaging for installing the building’s façade, and ShowMotion for the dramatic reveal on launch day. A dream has become a reality!