September 16, 2013

Created in response to the needs of those most in danger of malnourishment, the Citymeals Mobile Food Pantry now serves over four times more homebound elderly than at the time of its launch in 2011.

Poverty affects countless city residents, but it may come as a surprise to know one in five aged New Yorkers lives below the federal poverty line. After paying for rent, utilities and medications, many of our meal recipients have little money left to pay for food. Some even try to stretch their daily home-delivered meal through to the following day.

Age and disabilities also prevent our most vulnerable neighbors from taking advantage of traditional food pantries – as they are unable to walk to a local pantry and carry their groceries home. This puts them at an even greater risk of malnutrition.

Our Mobile Food Pantry addresses this problem by providing supplementary shelf-stable meals to our most at-risk frail aged each week. We operate in neighborhoods throughout the city with some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the country.

We recently expanded our volunteer programs in response to the Pantry’s growth. Dedicated volunteers have been delivering Mobile Food Pantry bags in Manhattan since July. Director of Volunteer Programs Vivienne O’Neill explained, “Citymeals volunteers are always ready to lend a hand when we have an increased need for their service. When we put out the call for Mobile Food Pantry volunteers this summer, the response was better than we could have ever expected. In the first month alone, 584 generous New Yorkers helped us deliver bags through this vital program.”

A typical Mobile Food Pantry delivery includes non-perishable soups and stews, brown rice, whole-grain breakfast cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, powdered milk, and more. The cost to provide this week of groceries to one of our neediest meal recipients is just $14.79.

Donations from Alcoa Foundation and Emblem Health help fund the Mobile Food Pantry.