As the son of devoted volunteers, Mark was encouraged to give back to his community from an early age. He grew up in a small, close-knit town in southern Indiana with his two sisters and devoted parents. Since he could remember, both of his parents regularly helped those in need in their community. Soon after he graduated from college, Mark moved to New York City in 1993 and settled in Hell’s Kitchen. Other than two years he spent in Buenos Aires, Mark has been here for his entire adult life.
Though already a frequent volunteer teaching conversational English in Chinatown and working with other non-profit organizations, a few years ago, Mark specifically sought a consistent opportunity that would foster long-lasting relationships with the people he helped. As a real estate agent, Mark’s schedule was flexible, but he also knew that his time was valuable and should be used wisely. “I wanted to work with a well-run organization that didn’t waste time and had a powerful impact on the community they serve,” Mark recalls. “Citymeals fit all that.”
When you volunteer with Citymeals, you feel appreciated from the top down. Both the meal recipients and staff let you know how grateful they are for your time. The experience has allowed me to serve a group of people that have worked hard all of their lives and now need and deserve a hand.
Mark recognized the challenges faced by the city’s homebound elderly and saw his potential to help make a difference in their lives. He says, “I feel the elderly are too often put to the side and don’t get the attention that they deserve.” Inspired by his mother, who, despite her own physical ailments, still visits with the elderly in her community, Mark signed up to volunteer with Citymeals and has been delivering meals to frail aged in midtown Manhattan every Saturday.
Looking back at his past year of service, Mark feels fulfilled. “Whether I’m delivering hot meals on Saturday mornings or boxes of shelf-stable food for the holidays, I feel like I have an impact on my community,” he declares.
Best of all, Mark gets back just as much as he gives when he volunteers with Citymeals. “The most rewarding part is making a human connection with the recipients. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment making eye contact and exchanging smiles and seeing that they are okay.”