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As you have your holiday meal, here's how to help local residents who cannot afford one

Posted: 5:56 PM, Dec 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-24 18:12:28-05

HARLEM, Manhattan — One of the most meaningful things that most people in the tri-state area will do during this holiday season is share a meal with family members or friends. However, tens of thousands of local residents -- perhaps even a neighbor of yours, or somebody else you know -- have no family or friends with whom to share a holiday meal, or they may not have the means to have food, or both.

One organization, Citymeals on Wheels, exists specifically to ensure that people who otherwise would not have food or social contact on holidays or weekends receive it. As the population of seniors nationwide and locally increases, the need for programs like Citymeals grows as well.

Josephine Thorne, a lifelong Harlem resident, is among the 21,000 seniors who receive Citymeals meals.

Thorne, 102, said that the prospect of a hot meal, delivered by a friendly person with whom she has frequent contact, helps to keep her young.

"You should see me," she told PIX11 News. "I'm like a child. I sit here and wait for it. I do."

Her deliverer, Angelina Leon, is a staff member at the organization, which also works with 25,000 volunteers a year to deliver hot meals to home-bound seniors. Citymeals connects them, and members of the community, through its website.

"If someone you know needs a meal, a home delivered meal," executive director Beth Shapiro said in an interview, "click on the link. It can easily walk you through the process."

Donations can also be made through the website Citymeals says that 100 percent of public donations go to buying and delivering food to clients.