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Our Holiday Memories
By Ariel Goltche, Marketing & Communications Associate
December 24, 2019
There’s no place like New York City during the holiday season. Millions of people roam the streets to see the magnificent Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the ornate windows at Saks Fifth Avenue and the magical quality of snow-covered Central Park. But the 18,414 homebound elderly we serve, many of whom have spent their entire lives here, are no longer able to experience these iconic city traditions – they are too old and frail to get out. For many, just getting up in the morning and waiting for their meal delivery takes all the energy they’ve got. But like us they treasure the warmth of their own homes, filled with memories of family, delicious meals and happy times.
Our staff took time to appreciate our most special holiday memories and all we have.
When my kids were little, one night each Hanukkah was designated for giving to others. Since I became Executive Director of Citymeals, the holidays have included meal deliveries for me and often for my family. I can’t think of any better tradition than helping others during a season when so many feel alone.
I’m grateful for the Citymeals staff who delay spending time with their own families on the holidays to ensure our meal recipients never go a day without a nourishing meal and human companionship. The holiday time can be especially difficult for older New Yorkers who once spent the day with loved ones – we’re here to remind them they aren’t forgotten.
The two weeks before Christmas were always packed to the brim with family, friends and loved ones. Holiday get-togethers, dinners, mass on Christmas Eve, opening presents with cousins. It was always a lot. But Christmas morning is always quiet and intimate – just me and my parents. Even today, we go downstairs, still in our pajamas, light a fire, and exchange gifts beside our glowing tree, strung with pearls and decked with a mix of ornaments, some made when I was in grade school. It’s a tradition I look forward to every year.
Growing up, December was a very festive month in my house. On the first night of Hanukkah, I’d always help my mom make what felt like hundreds of latkes. Nothing beats the smell of frying potatoes. On New Year’s Eve, my family would always sit together by the fire in our living room. My three siblings and I would eagerly wait for the clock to strike midnight so we could shake our maracas.
This holiday, we’ll be thinking of the isolated older New Yorkers who rely on us. With the help of 500 volunteers, Citymeals will prepare and deliver over 21,000 festive meals on Christmas. Learn how you can give back to your homebound elderly neighbors throughout the year.