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Service to Others – A Family Affair
Mom, dad & two children deliver a special Thanksgiving Day
feast to homebound elderly Citymeals on Wheels recipients
(Thursday, November 24, 2016 – Bronx, New York) – Four generous New Yorkers made community service a family affair this Thanksgiving morning when the Bartfeld Family – Dan, Beverly and their children, 11-year-old Bella and 13-year-old Jonathan – delivered special Thanksgiving meals to homebound elderly Citymeals on Wheels recipients in the South Bronx. Mr. Bartfeld is a Citymeals board member.
The Bartfeld family joined Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro to deliver meals in the South Bronx, home to some of New York City’s most vulnerable seniors. The area has among the highest food insecurity levels in the nation. The delivery also held very special meaning for Beverly as it is the same area of the Bronx where her mother lived after emigrating from Hungary in the 1940s.
The Thanksgiving feast included turkey with gravy, stuffing, green beans, and mashed sweet potatoes.
“After we make today’s deliveries, the Bartfelds and I will go home to our families and friends and gather around a big table sharing each other’s company and the joy of the holiday,” noted Shapiro. “Sadly, most of our frail aged Citymeals recipients are all alone for Thanksgiving and have only their memories of holidays past to comfort them.
“Today the Bartfelds and hundreds of Citymeals volunteers all around the city have brightened the day and nourished the souls of nearly 21,000 lonely New Yorkers who probably won’t see anyone else all day long. The joy that a friendly visit and a traditional holiday meal can bring is incalculable. Today is a wonderful reminder that Citymeals really does serve as a vital lifeline to so many vulnerable older New Yorkers. I’d like to thank the Bartfelds and all of our other volunteers for taking the time out of their holiday to give back to those who so desperately need our help,” Shapiro added.
Mr. Bartfeld said, “I am very thankful to Citymeals for the work they do not just today, but all year round. I am also grateful to be able to share this experience with my family. It is important to Beverly and I to not only teach our children about their roots, but also to share with them the joy that accompanies giving your time to others.”
For the holiday, Citymeals prepared nearly 21,000 Thanksgiving meals which were hand-delivered by an army of staff and 620 volunteers to the city’s homebound elderly in all five boroughs. Citymeals also funded the preparation of more than 2,200 additional holiday meals that were served to older New Yorkers in senior centers throughout the city.
All Citymeals on Wheels recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. More than 60 percent of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23 percent are over 90; more than 200 have lived at least a century. Nearly all need assistance walking. It is estimated that 66 percent use a cane; 39 percent use a walker; 16 percent use a wheelchair. Citymeals recipients are also isolated: 57 percent live alone; 40 percent rarely or never leave their homes; and 8 percent have no one with whom they can talk. Many are also at risk for malnutrition.
About Citymeals on Wheels: Citymeals on Wheels (citymeals.org) provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to New York City’s homebound elderly. Working in partnership with community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals prepares and delivers over 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals for more than 18,000 of our frail aged neighbors each year. Last year, over 15,000 individuals volunteered nearly 72,000 hours of their time.
Since its founding in 1981, Citymeals has relied on the generosity of its Board of Directors, the City of New York, sponsors and other designated gifts to cover administrative costs. This ensures that 100% of all public donations will be used entirely for the preparation and delivery of meals.