500 Volunteers Joined Citymeals in Spreading Holiday Cheer to Homebound Elderly New Yorkers

(December 25, 2019 – New York, NY) – This Christmas morning, Citymeals on Wheels prepared over 21,000 holiday meals for vulnerable older New Yorkers across the city. Nearly 500 volunteers dedicated their time on one of the biggest holidays of the year to hand-deliver nourishing meals to their homebound elderly neighbors, many of whom are spending the holiday alone. Later in the day, thousands of meals were served at senior centers that Citymeals partners with across the city, for those who are well enough to leave home. 

“1 in 10 older New Yorkers struggle with hunger, and as the elderly population continues to grow, our frail aged neighbors need our support,” says Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro. “This time of year can be an especially difficult for our meal recipients. The weather makes it hard to get out and many are alone on the holidays, having outlived their family and friends. We are so grateful to our dedicated volunteers who are nourishing both body and soul with warm meals that are delivered with a smile and friendly check in.” 

Year-round, Citymeals recipients are at risk of malnutrition because they are simply too old and frail to shop and cook for themselves. For instance:

  • The majority of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23% are over 90; and more than 200 have lived at least a century.
  • Nearly all need assistance walking and approximately 66% use a cane, 39% use a walker and 16% use a wheelchair. Many use all three.
  • Citymeals recipients are also isolated: 57% live alone, 40% rarely or never leave home and 8% have no one with whom they can talk, other than their Citymeals deliverer.  

Home-delivered meals, however, enable older New Yorkers to age with dignity in their own homes and communities, where they want to be. To learn more about Citymeals on Wheels, please visit


Citymeals on Wheels ( provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to New York City’s homebound elderly. Working in partnership with community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals prepares and delivers over 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals to more than 18,000 of our frail aged neighbors each year. Last year, more than 26,000 individuals volunteered over 90,000 hours of their time to Citymeals’ mission.

Since its founding in 1981, Citymeals has relied on the generosity of its Board of Directors, the City of New York, sponsors and other designated gifts to cover administrative costs. This ensures that 100% of all public donations will be used entirely for the preparation and delivery of meals.