Citymeals on Wheels Volunteers Deliver More than Just Hot Meals

by Justin Taylor

Part of the Food Policy Community Spotlight Series

Name: Citymeals on Wheels

What they do: Citymeals serves more than 18,400 homebound elderly New Yorkers annually. In addition to their meal programs, they provide companionship through a number of other volunteer programs.

How they do it: Citymeals on Wheels provides three meal services: weekend meals, holiday meals, and emergency meals. They also provide supplementary meals through their mobile food pantry to those most at risk for malnourishment. Each week, they deliver staples like stews, soups, brown rice, whole-grain breakfast cereal, and canned fruit and vegetables to recipients living in the South Bronx.

They also combat isolation and loneliness through their Friendly Visiting, Senior Script and Chat, and Handmade Card programs.

Mission: Citymeals on Wheels provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to homebound elderly New Yorkers, helping them live with dignity in their own familiar homes and communities.”

Latest project/campaign: In March 2018, the 21st Annual Citymeals on Wheels Supper Sunday raised more than $850,000 to prepare and deliver 115,175 meals.

Major funding: New York City Department for the Aging, the general public, and foundations.

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual budget: $20 million

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Since 1981, Citymeals has delivered more than 54 million meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers.



355 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Core programs: 

Weekend Meals: Saturday and Sunday meals delivered by hand each week

Holiday Meals: Festive meals for major holidays

Holiday Boxes: Boxes containing non-perishable meals provided before holidays when the centers must close

Emergency Meals: Boxes with three shelf-stable meals for times when emergencies delay regular deliveries

Emergency Food Packages: Packages containing non-perishable meals delivered in preparation for harsh winter weather

Mobile Food Pantry: Bags of shelf-stable food brought to those most at risk of malnutrition

Friendly Visiting: Pairing kind-hearted individuals with their isolated neighbors in need of companionship

Handmade Cards: Crafting cards to deliver on holidays, birthdays and special occasions

Senior Chat: Contacting elderly neighbors over the phone during a weekly call

Senior Script: Responding to mail from meal recipients with personalized letters

Number of staff: 28

Number of volunteers: 15,412 who gave more than 72,000 hours of their time in fiscal year 2016.

Areas served: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens

Year Started: 1981

Director: Beth Shapiro

Contact information:

(212) 687-1234

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