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The Citymeals Blog

Food for Though
Hayden

Moved by Our Recipients’ Memories

Describe what you do at Citymeals.

As part of the Marketing & Communications Department, I oversee our fundraising program, emails and website.

What surprised you about working for Citymeals?

Everyone is incredibly passionate. Before Citymeals, I worked on a lot of campaigns and I used to think no one could be more zealous than people trying to win at the ballot box. That was a misconception. The people who work here are incredibly dedicated and they work tirelessly to ensure we have an impact – and change lives – every single day.

What do you enjoy about working with older New Yorkers?

I love the memories our meal recipients share. Whether it’s Mary sharing memories of her mother’s Polish food or James showing me a photograph of an old diner where the Javits Center now stands – just getting to hear their stories is a joy.

Hayden Delivery
Hayden delivering meals to his homebound elderly neighbors in Midtown.

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

My paternal grandfather, Zebe, taught me how to golf. Mind you, I am terrible at it. But he always cared more about spending time together than whether I sliced every ball into the woods. Despite a long struggle with dementia, there were always beautiful glimmers of the kind, gracious family man I loved and admired.

And my maternal grandmother, Phyllis, was an incredible influence. I think about her life sometimes – growing up at the peak of the Depression, raising four kids, working a full-time job, devoting herself to family and community – and I’m always amazed. She was just a reserved, but incredibly strong woman who never seemed put down by the hardships she faced. That ability to keep going is something I try to carry with me. Later on in her life, she passed on this piece of wisdom: “Always make time for a little happy hour. Some wine, cheese and crackers go a long way.” So I try to do that when I can.

What’s your favorite food? 

There is nothing better than pizza – but it has to be homemade! I always have dough on hand so I can roll it out when I get home from work and top with pesto (again, homemade) and ricotta. When it’s done, I add arugula and basil. So good!

Who do you most enjoy sharing a meal with?

My partner, Colin. As I write this, I’m thinking about the ribeye with grilled radicchio I’ll make for our anniversary tonight. Anniversary or just a plain old Wednesday night, there’s nothing more satisfying for me than sharing a meal with loved ones. 

Food For Thought