AHRC Volunteers

"First rule," says Levan. "We don’t go anywhere without music." As the large white van pulls out of the center’s parking lot, he turns on the radio. Levan is a staff member at AHRC NYC, a community-based organization that supports people with disabilities, providing opportunities for them to connect and make a difference in their own neighborhoods.

Once a week, Levan accompanies volunteers supported by AHRC NYC's Day Program to deliver meals to Citymeals recipients in Queens. Their first stop is the meal center in Corona to pick up the meals. From there, they start off on their usual delivery route. They deliver to the same people every week, so they have the addresses and apartment numbers memorized. They knew which meal recipients take a while to get to the door, who likes to take the time to chat and who is hard of hearing.

It’s an important part of their weekly routine. "It’s really nice," says José, one of the AHRC NYC volunteers. He’s been going on these deliveries for three years and says he enjoys the chance to get out and meet new people.

An AHRC NYC volunteer delivering a meal to a homebound elderly woman.

"Everyone has gifts to share with others. People supported at AHRC NYC have the passion, motivation and compassion to contribute to their neighbors in need," says Darinka Vlahek, Director of Program Services. "Everybody can do something." For over a decade, Citymeals has worked with AHRC NYC to meet its members where they are when it comes to volunteering. Some, like José, deliver, while others pack meal boxes.

Everybody can do something.

And every few weeks, AHRC NYC members make handmade cards to brighten our meal recipients' days. They work with paper, markers, and stamps to express themselves creatively while also reaching out to their homebound neighbors. Daphne, one of AHRC NYC’s volunteers, often thinks about the people who will receive her cards as she makes them. She knows they can get lonely, especially if they can’t leave their homes. "I can imagine myself in that position," she says. She makes the kind of cards she’d like to get if she needed cheering up.

Citymeals volunteers making handmade cards for their homebound older neighbor.

It's this sense of connection that Citymeals seeks to foster with community groups across the city. Partnerships with organizations like AHRC NYC help build stronger bonds within our communities. And importantly, they help Citymeals fulfill our mission to deliver more than just a meal to those in need.