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Every year, Citymeals organizes a volunteer recognition party to honor the thousands of New Yorkers who help us provide meals and companionship to their homebound elderly neighbors.
Last year alone, more than 12,000 volunteers provided over 55,000 hours of service. From delivering meals during snowstorms to meeting with meal recipients each week for a simple visit, our volunteers are dedicated to improving the lives of New York’s most vulnerable population.
This year's party – attended by more than 300 volunteers – was hosted by Encore Senior Center in Manhattan. Citymeals Board Co-President Anne E. Cohen and New York City Council Member Ben Kallos from District 5 in Manhattan stopped by the event to show their support and appreciation for the volunteers. Also in attendance was longtime Citymeals volunteer Louise who began volunteering in 2007 and has been delivering meals consistently throughout the Upper East Side.
"I was attracted to the idea of visiting New Yorkers who were isolated by illness or age," Louise recalls. "The first day was slushy and cold. As I trudged through the snow and up five flights of stairs to deliver a meal, I didn’t know what to expect. The meal recipient was a white-haired woman who struggled to the door on two canes. She said she was delighted to meet me and thanked me for being there. She asked me to open her window; she didn’t have the strength. I knew I was truly helping. I was hooked."
The volunteers enjoyed delicious refreshments from Aureole, Make My Cake, Telepan Local, and Tribeca Grill donated by board members, as well as beverage and restaurant partners Café Frame Restaurant, D'Agostino Supermarkets, Dallas BBQ, Nirvana, Sylvia's, The Fourth, The Boston Beer Company, and Citymeals Official Water FIJI.
Citymeals Director of Volunteer Programs Vivienne O’Neill stated, "Our volunteers are some of the most compassionate and hardworking individuals in the city. They are always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our meal recipients are well-nourished and comforted. We host this party as a way to say thank you, but we couldn’t thank them enough for all they help us accomplish throughout the year. Special thanks also go to Encore Senior Center and the generous restaurant and beverage supporters who made the event a success."