The Citymeals Blog

Food for Though
grandmother pic

Wisdom from Our Grandparents

Every September, Citymeals celebrates Grandparents Day. For many of us, our grandparents have played a formative role in our lives – caring for, guiding and inspiring us. And we often see our own grandmothers and grandfathers in the 18,000 meal recipients Citymeals serve across New York City. Some of them have had unimaginable tales to tell, for others our experiences converge with theirs in surprising ways. Always they are sagacious. Here are some of the best words of wisdom our staff have received from their own grandparents. 

Beth Shapiro

My grandmother Sarah owned her own dress shop in Brooklyn and was a trailblazer for her time. She taught me how to play cards and often told me, “You need to improve your poker face.” That is still true to this day. 


Vivienne O’Neill

My grandmother, Mary McKenzie, was my true love, my inspiration, my teacher, my friend. She always wore pearls and once said, “A lady should not walk and eat.” Not even ice cream when you’re only eight years old! Although she’s gone from me, she is always with me in spirit. And I’m still wearing my pearls.


Rachel Sherrow

My grandmother, Sylvia Leef, was born in New York City in 1907. She was always supportive of women’s rights and equality and worked until she was 86 years old for Columbia University. She wisely told me, “Always keep your own bank account.” And I named my daughter in her honor.


Alana Kulig 

My grandparents, Virginia and Thaddeus, received meals on wheels for many years in Massachusetts, where they lived. When I was young, they always told me, “You’ll never know where something could lead. Someone you are at odds with could end up being your best friend. Someone you help could end up helping you much later in a way you never expected.” And they were absolutely right.

Alana grandparents

Eric Groom

My mother Sally was 87 when she gave her grandchildren these words of wisdom: “Love one another. That’s it. Just love one another. And take good care of your teeth.” 


Ariel Goltche

My poppy Joe’s mental acuity never faded – even through his 90s. He always had the answer to any question I could imagine. He was an extremely handy individual and kept his workbench pristine. “Always have the right tool for the job,” he would tell me. 


Samantha Sulzer

Before going off to college my Grandpa sat me down and gave me a whole talk about growing up and life in general. After this nice, in depth chat he wrapped up the conversation with, “Remember if you need anything, call your grandma.” Out of all the sage words I’ve received from them throughout the years this is what stood out the most.

Catharine Bufalino

I feel very lucky to be named after my maternal grandmother, who once told me, “Don’t believe anyone who tells you things were better back in the olden days.” That has shaped my whole world view.  

Food For Thought