For 71-year-old Caroline, the holiday season holds some of her happiest memories. On Thanksgiving, she and her seven siblings would gather around the table to enjoy a big meal. Extended family and friends were always stopping by, keen to get a slice of sweet potato pie.

Christmas was just as festive. Her father always waited until the night before so he could buy the biggest tree. Together, they hung paper snowflakes and red tinsel while her mother wrapped presents. “We were all together. My parents cooked a big meal for the lot of us. They would make a Christmas goose and a ham,” Caroline recalls.

Today, she longs to be surrounded by family once more. In the last few years, Caroline lost her brother and her beloved husband, David. Her eyes begin to water as she recounts finding David on the floor early one morning – he’d suffered a heart attack. "We were together 43 years. He was wonderful." During the pandemic, she became increasingly isolated while still struggling with grief from losing David. “It was depressing to stay in the house. No one could visit.”

Pushing back more tears, Caroline reaches for a framed photograph of David. He’s wearing a cowboy hat and sporting a big grin. Since he died, the Bed-Stuy apartment – the same one Caroline has lived in for fifty years – has felt unsettlingly quiet. Countless photographs hang on the walls, reminding her of happier times and all she has lost.

I used to love to cook for my husband. There's no reason to cook just for me.

Her sisters provide a respite from the loneliness. All live nearby, but they are elderly themselves and cannot visit. Instead, they talk on the phone almost daily, often recounting how Bed-Stuy has changed over the years. “I’m an original!” Caroline notes. Like all of her siblings, she was born in Kings County Hospital and has lived in Brooklyn her entire life.

After losing her husband, Caroline began to experience her own heart issues which made it difficult to stand for long periods. She takes comfort in her regular meal deliveries. "The meals are tasty. And it's great not to have to cook," she says. "I used to love to cook for my husband. There's no reason to cook just for me."