May 22, 2014

On Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton announced Citymeals will be the major charity beneficiary of Harlem EatUp!. Conceived by Chef Marcus Samuelsson and veteran event marketer Herb Karlitz, the new food, music and arts festival will celebrate the spirit of Harlem from May 14-17, 2015.

"This is a great day for our city," stated President Clinton, the event’s honorary chair. "I believe that the Harlem EatUp! Festival will lift all of Harlem in ways that will not only have permanent economic benefits, but also showcase all of the culture this community has to offer."

Dignitaries including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Citymeals Board Co-President Chef Daniel Boulud, Citymeals Board Member Aliyyah Baylor, Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro and longtime Citymeals friend Tren'Ness Woods also attended the press conference. Harlem EatUp! will host several free and ticketed events highlighting the area’s culinary, music and arts scene.

Festival Co-Founder Chef Samuelsson of the Marcus Samuelsson Group explained, "The magic and hospitality that I feel here every day in Harlem is what we aim to convey with the Harlem EatUp! Festival. Also inspired by the art, music and culture that make Harlem so vibrant, the festival will be in and of the community, reaching beyond the culinary world to be a true celebration of the entire neighborhood."

"It is tremendously gratifying to be helping to bring to life this exciting new festival that will celebrate Harlem and the people at its heart," said Herb Karlitz, President of Karlitz & Company and Co-Founder of the event. "Our beneficiaries each nurture this vibrant community in their own way, and we are thrilled to be partnering with them."

Citymeals provides over 178,840 meals to 1,315 frail aged residents of East, West and Central Harlem each year. We serve 136,760 weekend meals and 42,080 emergency and holiday meals. In 2005, Citymeals launched the Friendly Visiting program in Harlem, through which volunteers visit meal recipients in their homes on a weekly basis. To date, volunteers have been paired with 520 of their homebound elderly neighbors in the area, providing 14,913 hours of their time. Since the program was created, Friendly Visiting has expanded into the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and throughout Manhattan.

Beth Shapiro commented, "We are truly honored to have been named the major charity beneficiary of Harlem EatUp! because of our impact in the community. Special thanks go to Marcus Samuelsson, Herb Karlitz and Tren'ness Woods, who is on the event steering committee, for choosing Citymeals to be a part of the Festival."