January 21, 2015

For many years, our city’s young professionals – New Yorkers who are 40 years old or younger – have supported Citymeals through volunteer outings and events. In 2013, Citymeals established the Young Professionals Committee (YPC) to help focus their efforts in raising both funds and awareness for the homebound elderly.

Since then, the YPC – co-chaired by Danielle Valenti Smith and Byron Athans – has sparked a renewed interest in Citymeals’ mission within the young professional community. Every month, they deliver meals from senior centers throughout Manhattan. These opportunities have become so popular that the group is often required to schedule multiple deliveries during the month.

In addition to encouraging volunteerism, the YPC organizes several fundraising events throughout the year. Last fiscal year alone, they raised over $102,000 for Citymeals – enough to fund the preparation and delivery of more than 15,800 nutritious meals.

2015 is already shaping up to be a busy year for the YPC. On January 8th, the group hosted The Life of a Wine, an event that brought together some of the city’s most notable young sommeliers who presented tastings and educated guests about different wines. The evening’s ticket sales raised $11,250 for Citymeals.

Days later, young professionals gathered for a volunteer opportunity at the Citymeals main office. In less than thirty minutes, they packed 170 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day boxes, each containing three shelf-stable meals to ensure their isolated older neighbors would be nourished during the long holiday weekend. The volunteers then delivered the boxes to meal recipients in midtown Manhattan.

On February 6th, Danielle Valenti Smith will host the second annual Pack the Pantry, a volunteer initiative that allows children to experience community service in a fun and playful way. Young attendees pack a bag from a “Pop-Up” pantry store, deliver it themselves to the Citymeals Mobile Pantry outside and create greeting cards for frail aged New Yorkers.

Valenti Smith explains, “Once joining the committee, I felt there was a need to get more children involved. I feel it is essential to teach children the importance of community service and helping those who are living right in our neighborhood. With that idea, Pack the Pantry was born.”

Read more about the YPC.

For more information about the YPC, e-mail events@citymeals.org.

Stay up-to-date on YPC news and events by visiting their Facebook page.