Citymeals on Wheels Prepares 20,000 Thanksgiving Meals on its Biggest Day of Service

Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro Delivers to a 101-Year-Old Woman,
Who Relies on This Lifeline of Nourishing Meals

(November 22, 2018 – New York, NY) This Thanksgiving, Citymeals on Wheels prepared 20,000 festive holiday meals for homebound elderly New Yorkers across the five boroughs, many of whom have outlived their own friends and family. Staff and over 500 volunteers hand-delivered 18,000 of these meals, giving their time and energy to remind their frail aged neighbors they are not forgotten. An additional 2,000 holiday meals were served in senior centers throughout the city for those who are able to get out.

Early in the morning, Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro delivered traditional turkey lunches with all the fixings to meal recipients in East Harlem, including 101-year-old Josephine, who continues to live in the same building she has called home for 50 years. 

"Today, we're preparing and delivering the traditional Thanksgiving dishes to older New Yorkers who are celebrating alone – roast turkey, sweet potato, stuffing with gravy, cranberry sauce and slice of pie," says Shapiro. "Home-delivered meals enable them to live with dignity in their own homes and communities, where they want to be. And it's important that they know someone is thinking about them on this special day.”

All Citymeals on Wheels recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. The majority of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23 percent are over 90; and more than 200 have lived at least a century. Nearly all need assistance walking: approximately 66 percent use a cane; 39 percent use a walker; and 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. 


Citymeals on Wheels ( 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. This year, nearly 25,000 individuals lent their support to our mission.

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.