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Serving Good on MLK Day
By Vivienne O’Neill, Director of Volunteer Programs
January 18, 2019
Every January, Americans pause to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision for equality and progress. Many of us see the holiday as a “day on, not a day off” and a chance to bridge the social gaps in our communities. For Citymeals, it is an especially important day of service with hundreds of volunteers from all walks of life joining us to connect with their vulnerable older neighbors.
Without the help of thousands of caring and dedicated volunteers, Citymeals could not serve the 18,414 homebound elderly New Yorkers who rely on us. Last year, nearly 25,000 volunteers gave more than 80,000 hours of service to support them and advance our mission.
Many of our volunteers hit the streets delivering meals, like this group from Women of the Word, who helped deliver weekend meals to their homebound elderly neighbors in the Bronx.
Student groups can also learn about giving back. This group from St. Ignatius Loyola School volunteered at the Citymeals warehouse, packing bags for our Mobile Food Pantry.
Others are building intergenerational relationships through our Friendly Visiting program. Volunteer Kumiko has been visiting her neighbor, Agatha, in Park Slope for five years. At 94, Agatha is legally blind and can no longer get out, but Kumiko helps bring the outside world to her during their weekly visits.
Through our handmade card program, schoolchildren across the city crafted special greetings for Citymeals recipients honoring the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Last year, our volunteers decorated 65,823 cards, for a host of holidays and special occasions, that were delivered to Citymeals recipients along with their meals.
Corporate groups also take time out the office to connect with their communities. This team from Infinite Global helped pack and deliver apples and pears for meal recipients, as part of our fresh produce initiative.
Citymeals has volunteer opportunities to fit all ages and schedules. We hope you will consider getting involved in 2019. In the words of Dr. King, “Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”