November 5, 2012

Leading up to Hurricane Sandy and in its aftermath, Citymeals on Wheels took emergency measures to ensure New York’s homebound elderly had access to food.

During and immediately after the storm, we shipped thousands of Emergency Food Packages to our meal recipients in Brooklyn and Queens, and other boroughs received them in early November. Every fall Citymeals provides these packages to the homebound aged – 21-pound boxes containing twelve shelf-stable meals that guarantee our frail neighbors have nourishment on hand even if weather emergencies delay regular deliveries. Emergency Food Packages include non-perishable foods such as tuna, salmon, rice, quinoa, applesauce, whole-grain breakfast cereal, juice, and extras like coffee, tea and low sugar cookies.

In addition, our Brooklyn warehouse stayed open throughout the weekend leading up to the storm to prepare smaller boxes each containing three shelf-stable meals. These went both to vulnerable older New Yorkers who had not yet received their Emergency Food Packages and to those normally able to walk to their local senior centers for meals, but who were unable to do so while centers were closed during the storm. For an update with numbers for our Hurricane Sandy meal deliveries, click here.

We responded to emergency requests from concerned neighbors and family members of elderly people who don’t normally receive our meals but were stranded in their homes because of the storm - such as a 90-year-old woman in Stuyvesant Town whose son in Boston reached us to urgently request an Emergency Food Package for her. Our staff has responded to these requests, sometimes using their own cars or going on foot to make deliveries.

Given the impact on transportation and power, many of the senior centers we work with were understaffed. Thank you to all who gave their time volunteering for meal deliveries. Now, we need to raise funds to replenish the depleted supplies in our warehouse.

Recent press coverage on Citymeals' response to Hurricane Sandy:

"Emma Watson Delivers to Sandy Victims" in The New York Post

"Senior Citizens Coping with Sandy Aftermath" on NBC New York

"Sandy Strands Elderly in New York Highrises" on American Public Media's Marketplace

"Citymeals on Wheels Works to Help New Yorkers in Need" on NY1

"Food Pantries Face Thanksgiving Dilemma After Sandy" on NBC New York