Almost a month before the 4th Annual Harlem EatUp Festival began the Harlem EatUp Foundation was showering it’s love on Citymeals on Wheels and some very worthy senior citizens in Harlem. Chef Daniel Boulud of Restaurant DANIEL and Co-President of Citymeals Board of Directors and Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem and Beth Shapiro, Executive Director Citymeals on Wheels gathered together mid-morning on Wednesday, April 25th, 2018 to pack up specially prepared meals to homebound elderly neighbors in Harlem.
The special delivery was conceived by Chef Boulud and Chef Samuelsson and the Harlem Eat up Foundation seized the opportunity to present Citymeals with a $10,000 check to keep the meals flowing to NYC’s homebound seniors. Citymeals is one of the charitable organizations that’s a beneficiary of the Harlem Eat up Festival’s net proceeds; the other two are Harlem Park to Park and Historic Harlem Parks.
Citymeals on Wheels is a non-profit organization that delivers over 2 million meals to 18,000 NYC seniors each year; including 200,000 meals in Harlem. “Over the last 40 years there’s been a 40% growth in NYC’s senior population – 66% of the recipients are women and the average are 83-years old; over 200 are over 100 years old,” states Ms. Shapiro. Citymeals is also coordinating 300 volunteers for this year’s festival.
“It’s important to help retired people who need good nutrition and human contact daily,” says Chef Boulud who has adopted NYC as his home after working as a chef here firm the past 30 years and he’s hosted a gala dinner for the last 20 years. He helped establish the Chefs Deliver program.
“We expect 14,000 people to participate in Harlem EatUp Festival events in between Monday, May 14th and Sunday, May 20th, 2018. We want people to come out and enjoy the best of the diverse cuisines offered in the village of Harlem. We have guest chefs pairing up with our local restaurant chefs to offer even their regular customers some special treats. Tickets for most of these individual restaurant events are sold out, however, tickets for the Ultimate Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday (May 19th and 20th can be purchased on those dates. The Marketplace side is free and pay as you want to eat for people with kids under 21 years old. We have something to offer folks of all ages and price points,” says Chef Marcus Samuelsson co-founder of the festival.
I was passing by Morningside Park on my morning walk on Thursday, May 17th and they were erecting the multiple tents in the park. It’s nice to watch it come together. It’s raining but the weekend events will take place rain or shine.
Photo credits: Rudy Collins.