Citymeals On Wheels Prepares And Delivers Emergency Food Packages For The Homebound Elderly

Staff and volunteers of Citymeals on Wheels were busy packing and delivering vital Emergency Food Packages (EFPs) across the city.

In an effort to prepare homebound elderly New Yorkers for the winter months ahead.

The special meal packages are being hand delivered this month to nearly 20,000 Citymeals recipients to ensure they have extra food on hand should winter weather or other emergencies delay regular meal deliveries.

Each EFP includes four nutritious, ready-to-eat meals, including salmon, organic brown rice, assorted vegetables, applesauce, oatmeal, and treats like cocoa and low-sugar oatmeal cookies.

“We’ve seen the impact of extreme weather throughout this year, from storms to heat waves, and it’s been especially hard on vulnerable, older New Yorkers. We want to be sure our meal recipients have plenty of food on hand ahead of an uncertain winter,” said Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro. “The nearly 20,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers we serve are the hidden hungry – no longer able to shop, cook or even walk to a food pantry. These special care packages ensure they have food in their cupboards and a nourishing lifeline when they need it.”

This fall marks four decades of Citymeals’ fight against elder hunger. The organization was founded in 1981 to provide home-delivered meals on weekends, and holidays in times of emergency. Citymeals on Wheels is now the largest nonprofit meals on wheels program in the country.

Working in partnership with community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals is serving nearly 20,000 meal recipients. One in 10 older New Yorkers was facing food insecurity before the pandemic and that number has only increased. Among Citymeals recipients, 14% live on just the one meal a day the organization delivers. Among those they serve:

  • All Citymeals’ recipients are over 60 years old and chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.
  • All need assistance with walking: 66% use a cane, 39% use a walker, and 16% use a wheelchair.
  • More than half of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; nearly 20 percent are over 90 years old, and more than 400 have lived over a century.
  • Meal recipients are isolated: the majority live alone, 40 percent rarely or never leave their homes, and 8 percent of meal recipients have no one they can talk to on a regular basis other than their meal deliverer.

Citymeals on Wheels

Citymeals on Wheels (citymeals.org) provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to nearly 20,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers.

Working in partnership with community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals prepared and delivered nearly 2 million weekend, holiday, and emergency meals last year.

Last year, nearly 19,000 volunteers gave more than 52,000 hours of time to Citymeals’ 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.


Photo credit: 1-2) Citymeals.

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