In anticipation of the upcoming Passover celebration, a group of volunteers worked tirelessly Tuesday to pack meals for older members of the Jewish community.
Working with Citymeals-on-wheels, a non-profit organization that has been providing free weekend and holiday meals to New York’s seniors since 1981, volunteers from Macy’s packaged approximately 4,400 boxes of food at Citymeals’ warehouse on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg.
Each box contained the equivalent of eight meals and is stuffed with Passover favorites such as poached salmon, gefilte fish, beef brisket, and stuffed cabbage.
The Macy’s employees present at the warehouses were members of the online division of the departmental store. The online team participates in volunteer drives at least twice a year.
We work as hard as we can and try to give back as much as possible,” said Thomas Misner, the director of online operations at Macy’s. “This is a great way for us to give back to customers.”
Wednesday’s packaging drive also marks the launch of Citymeals’ March for Meals initiative which will aim to raise awareness about needs of senior citizens who are homebound, who face malnutrition, or have had to grapple with food insecurities.
“Citymeals does such important work caring for our most vulnerable neighbors, but our efforts go far beyond preparing and delivering weekend, holiday, and emergency meals,” said Beth Shapiro, executive director at Citymeals. “We hope this march for meals initiative will focus the public’s attention on the work we do, who we serve, the growing problem of food insecurity and malnutrition among the city’s elderly and why volunteerism and financial support are critical to what we do.”
Citymeals works primarily with the city’s Department for the Aging to identify vulnerable members of the community – those most in need of the meals. Over 60 percent of Citymeals’ recipients are over 80 years old, 73 percent live alone, and most suffer from illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, heart diseases, and vision loss.
Over the course of a year Citymeals delivers over 2 million meals – essentially working as a support system to the soup kitchens and free food providers in the city who usually do not serve food during the weekends. The organization receives funds through the EGL charitable foundation, and the David Berg Foundation, and does extensive fundraising campaigns throughout the year.