December 4, 2014
Just days before Thanksgiving in 1981, Citymeals Co-Founder Gael Greene read an article in the New York Times stating homebound elderly New Yorkers were not receiving meals during weekends and holidays. She called her friends in the culinary world – including renowned chef and cooking teacher James Beard – and together they raised $35,000 to provide a Christmas meal for their most vulnerable neighbors. Thirty-three years later, Thanksgiving continues to be especially important to Citymeals.

This Thanksgiving, Citymeals funded the preparation of 21,000 meals for both homebound elderly New Yorkers and older neighbors who were able to get out of their homes for a special holiday gathering.

Of the 21,000 meals, we prepared and delivered 18,000 to meal recipients who are unable to shop and cook for themselves. Each meal – consisting of turkey with all the trimmings – was hand-delivered by a staff meal deliverer or caring volunteer. Most were delivered with a handmade greeting card or thoughtful note written by a kindhearted supporter.

Citymeals also sponsored the preparation of 3,000 meals served to elderly New Yorkers who gathered for festive celebrations in senior centers throughout the city.

In addition, dozens of meal recipients from Far Rockaway, South Brooklyn, Flatbush, East New York, Parkchester, Pelham, the South Bronx, the Upper East Side, and Greenwich Village also gathered for a Thanksgiving luncheon at Dos Caminos, a BR Guest Hospitality restaurant. Though normally unable to leave their homes, the guests were escorted to the restaurant with the help of staff and volunteers for the rare opportunity to enjoy a holiday party and delicious sit-down Thanksgiving feast.

Beth Shapiro, Executive Director of Citymeals-on-Wheels, explained, "For most of us, Thanksgiving means the company of family and friends, a comforting meal and the chance to count our blessings. But the holidays can be especially difficult for our frail aged neighbors who may no longer have friends or family nearby. Thankfully, we provide nourishing meals and friendly visits to help remind them that they are not forgotten. These Thanksgiving celebrations would not have been possible without the generosity of our staff and volunteers, BR Guest Hospitality and CEO James Gersten, Dos Caminos Executive Chef Ivy Stark and Campus Coach Lines."

Ivy Stark, Executive Chef at Dos Caminos, added, "As a chef, I always strive to make people happy through food. Today, seeing the joy on the faces of these homebound elderly, we are reminded of all the things we’re thankful for. On behalf of Dos Caminos and BR Guest Hospitality, I am so grateful to be a part of this special day."