The Citymeals Blog

Food for Though
Jose Luis Sanchez

The Measure of Our Success

Citymeals says a fond farewell to Jose Luis Sanchez, who has supported and helped grow our programs over the last six years. He worked his way up, from coordinator to manager, and along the way created opportunities to serve more meals and provide more support to our meal recipients. Jose has always seen his work through a social justice lens -- and he will be missed.
What has been your role at Citymeals?

I have been the Manager of Programs and Aging Initiatives for Citymeals on Wheels, overseeing the 30-plus contracted community based organizations that deliver 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals to over 18,000 homebound elderly throughout New York City. I also coordinate with Citymeals’ warehouse to ensure that more than 500,000 shelf-stable meals are delivered efficiently each year. And I work with staff at city agencies to ensure Citymeals is prepared in the event of emergency to respond to the needs of the city’s elderly.

What do you enjoy about working for Citymeals?

Citymeals does its best to give older New Yorkers a voice through its programs. Citymeals and our network of providers are often the only people who really understand their needs, and we’re often the only people they trust. Imagine over 18,000 doors across the city opening each day because they hear the words “meals on wheels.” That really shows how we have been entrusted with their well-being. I’ve always relished that and the small part I play in making sure they are looked after – not only nutritionally, but that they are not forgotten. Our knock on the door lets them know: hey, someone is looking out for you.

Are there older people that have played an important role in your life?

My name is in honor of my maternal great-grandparents – my Papa José and Mama Luisa. I honor my great-grandparents every single day, and I was very fortunate to have them and my grandmother in my life. I grew up hearing stories of their lives, learning about where they came from, and thinking about how that impacts my life, my decisions and where I’m heading.

What would you like people to know about Citymeals?

This is real work! It is unrelenting on our deliverers, case managers, fundraisers, the warehouse team that responds to emergencies, our volunteer programs, and the marketing team that shares stories of people we serve. And the measure of success is one meal delivered to someone’s door – that’s the metric we are judged by. So if we fall short, if we miss one meal, one person, then we have failed. The City looks to us to assure the safety of every meal recipient, so if someone is not home on a given day, the whole network activates to ensure that person is ok. In short, we are so much more than a meal service.

Food For Thought