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A Starry Night
By Rachel Sherrow, Associate Executive Director & Chief Program Officer
October 23, 2018
Citymeals’ annual STAR Awards is an event I look forward to all year. Without the help of dedicated case managers, volunteer coordinators, kitchen staff and meal deliverers, Citymeals could not fulfill our mission and deliver more than 2 million meals each year. It was an honor to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all these individuals. Here are just a few of the many wonderful honorees who received STAR Awards.
Meal Deliverer Angelina Leon
Angelina goes above and beyond her duties as a meal deliverer in East Harlem – she treats meal recipients like her own family. She accompanied one to the hospital for cancer surgery, she tidied up her home to make it more comfortable after surgery, and then brought her home from the hospital once she healed. Angelina also visits the homebound elderly in need of companionship through Citymeals’ Friendly Visiting program.
Case Manager Miriam Mahmood
When one of Miriam's clients in Brooklyn lost her husband suddenly after 30 years of marriage, she was left with no income to pay her rent or bills. Unable to buy groceries on her own, Miriam let her know about home-delivered meals from Citymeals. Though the client was hesitant at first, the consistent and delicious food she received from Citymeals helped to build her trust with Miriam and encouraged her to accept other necessary financial services.
Meal Deliverer Alan Sentner
Alan's positive energy and enthusiasm to make a difference in meal recipients' lives is contagious. On one occasion, he delivered a bouquet of balloons and a cake to an isolated elderly woman on her birthday. He knew that she would otherwise spend the day alone. Upon entering the residence of another meal recipient living in eastern Queens, Alan noticed a strong smell of gas inside the home. He promptly shut the burners and alerted fellow staff. His act was truly lifesaving.
Volunteer Coordinator Christella Tuldanes
Christella coordinates our Friendly Visiting program in northern Queens. In just one year as a volunteer coordinator, she reached out to more than 100 new community partners to present the program. As a result, she increased the number of active volunteers from 4 to 26 individuals, who now visit weekly with isolated meal recipients in need of companionship. Christella actively recruits volunteers from different backgrounds, cultures, and language skills to match the needs of meal recipients across the borough.
Special Recognition: Bobby Oliver
For the last 10 years, Bobby has had one of the most challenging meal delivery routes on the Lower East Side, walking over 8 miles and 20,000 steps total daily. In the rain, snow, heat, power outages or even super storms, nothing has stopped him from completing his daily trek. Meal recipients describe Bobby as an “angel sent from the heavens,” and “sunshine on a rainy day.” He retires after 15 years of taking care of the most vulnerable New Yorkers.
Thank you to all awardees and runners-up who blaze a trail to ensure our frail aged neighbors get the nutritious meals and companionship they need!