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Citymeals on Wheels Launches “Citymeals Culinary Circle”
Members of New York City's Culinary Community Join Forces in Support of Citymeals
(March 8, 2016 – New York, NY) – Four titans of the culinary world are leading an effort in New York City called the Citymeals Culinary Circle that will provide members of the food industry – both up-and-comers and established icons – greater opportunity to get involved with Citymeals on Wheels, a nonprofit providing a continuous lifeline of meals and companionship to homebound elderly New Yorkers. The program will also offer a support system to help cultivate career growth.
Spearheading the Citymeals Culinary Circle are Chef Daniel Boulud, Co-President of the Citymeals on Wheels Board and Chef-Owner, Daniel & The Dinex Group; Robert S. Grimes, Co-President of the Citymeals on Wheels Board and President, R.S. Grimes & Co., Inc.; Citymeals on Wheels Board Member and Restaurateur, Myriad Restaurant Group, Drew Nieporent; and Citymeals on Wheels Board Member and Restaurateur, Charlie Palmer Group, Chef Charlie Palmer.
Comprising chefs, food writers, media personalities and others, many Citymeals Culinary Circle members have already participated in Citymeals events and initiatives including Chefs Deliver for Citymeals, Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels, Citymeals Dineout and Citymeals Young Professionals Committee events.
Beth Shapiro, Executive Director of Citymeals on Wheels, commented, “For nearly 35 years Citymeals has been supported by some of the most talented members of the culinary community. As we look ahead, we are thrilled that Daniel, Robert, Drew and Charlie are sharing their time and talent to foster relationships between a new generation of generous gourmands and Citymeals. Members of the Citymeals Culinary Circle understand that Citymeals serves as a safety net to thousands of vulnerable New Yorkers. And, of course, none of this would be possible without our co-founder, Gael Greene, who will lend her invaluable voice to this new initiative.”
Citymeals has been deeply rooted in and supported by the chef community. In November 1981, Greene, then-restaurant critic at New York magazine, read a news article reporting that homebound elderly New Yorkers would not receive meal deliveries on weekends and holidays. Outraged, she made a series of phone calls to friends in the food world, including renowned chef James Beard. Together, they raised $35,000 – money they wanted to spend specifically on meals for their most vulnerable neighbors. Greene contacted a City Commissioner who quickly turned the funds into Christmas meals for 6,000 frail aged New Yorkers who would otherwise have gone without. What began on Christmas 1981 has matured into today's Citymeals on Wheels, with a volunteer base of 15,000 people and initiatives like the Mobile Food Pantry and Friendly Visiting that expand upon their core programs to address malnutrition and social isolation.
All Citymeals on Wheels recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. More than 60% of its meal recipients are over 80 years old, 23% are over 90, and more than 200 have lived at least a century. Nearly all meal recipients need assistance walking. It is estimated that 66% use a cane, 39% use a walker and 16% use a wheelchair. Citymeals meal recipients are also isolated. 57% live alone, 40% rarely or never leave their homes and 8% have no one with whom they can talk.
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 69,000 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.