October 27, 2015

Fourteen kindhearted New Yorkers were singled out for their exceptional service to New York City’s homebound elderly at our 2015 STAR Awards. At this annual celebration, Citymeals honored meal deliverers, drivers, kitchen staff, case managers, and program managers who go above and beyond the call of duty for the frail aged we nourish.

The event was hosted by longtime Board Member Dennis Riese, CEO of National Restaurants Management Inc. Mr. Riese and his company have been steadfast supporters for more than two decades, raising nearly $3.4 million for Citymeals in that time period.

Among this year’s winners were:

Luis “Danny” Garcia: Even though he works one of the longest delivery routes in Brooklyn, Danny takes the time to learn his meal recipients’ routines as well as their likes and dislikes. For over a week last summer the elevator was broken in a building where Danny delivers, but he climbed 25 flights of stairs each day to deliver meals without any hesitation.

Hector Reyes: One day, Hector was delivering meals to a recipient in South Brooklyn who did not answer the door. Hector immediately felt something was wrong and went to the back of the building to see if she was home. Hector discovered she was having a stroke and immediately called 911. The doctors credited Hector for saving the life of the meal recipient.

Moufdi Naji: Six days a week, Chef Moufdi travels from his home in Bay Ridge to work on the Upper East Side of Manhattan – a 90 minute trip – and never complains. During weather emergencies, he always goes the extra mile and is willing to work late and on weekends. He will even wake up in the middle of the night to ensure his food order is on its way and all staff are able to get to work safely. In the eleven years Moufdi has worked as a chef at the Carter Burden Center for the Aging, he has prepared more than 2.1 million nutritious meals for his homebound elderly neighbors. 

Karen Garvin: Five days a week, Karen – who oversees the preparation and delivery of meals at the Mid Bronx Senior Citizens Council – works a twelve hour shift. Karen will always come through for her meal recipients, ensuring they never go hungry. When her staff is short, she will drive the truck and deliver the meals herself. Karen and her team are dedicated to the well-being of their frail aged neighbors, always notifying case management when a meal recipient looks ill or sounds sad.

Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro explained, “Citymeals is proud to honor so many deserving New Yorkers who go above and beyond in their everyday jobs to ensure their homebound elderly neighbors are never forgotten. It gives me great pleasure to thank our longtime board member and extraordinarily generous supporter Dennis Riese for his commitment to Citymeals and our city’s frail aged. He and his company have filled the plates and hearts of so many in need.”