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Elderly New Yorkers receive meals, songs, from youth choir

Singers from Trinity Church’s Youth Chorus delivered hot meals, poinsettias, stockings and songs to residents living at a Midtown senior home on Tuesday morning.

Catalina Linero, 75, sat on her bed in a small studio at Encore Community Services, smiling as the group of carolers in Santa hats sang “Oh Holy Night,” then left her with meals for the day.

Linero is one of 19 residents at the home who relies on Citymeals-on-Wheels for food daily. The charity, founded in 1981, has delivered 50 million meals, and serves 18,000 New Yorkers.

“That’s very good,” said Thomas Pointek, 70, a Navy veteran, after the singers finished “Deck the Halls.” “It sounds like on the TV.”

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“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to not only give back to the community but be able to use something that I consider a gift to be able to bring joy to people,” said Allison Zhao, 18, a freshman at the University of Richmond who continues to sing with the 80-member chorus when she’s in town. “One of my relatives is in the hospital, so to me this is actually such a wonderful opportunity to spiritually empower all the people here and bring them joy going into the holiday season.”

“The choir means a lot to me, and I feel it’s a way to give back,” said Elisa Sikula, a 14-year-old student at Notre Dame High School.

“This is really moving,” said Katie Kruse, 14, a student at the Dalton School.

“The holidays are a particularly difficult time (for seniors), they've outlived their family, friends, sometimes their own children, and they’re alone,” said Beth Shapiro, executive director of Citymeals. “It is about the food but it’s also about our staff and volunteers who check in every day, and make sure that there’s a human connection, that we battle a lit bit of the social isolation.”

Donate to City Meals on Wheels by calling 212-687-1234 or www.citymeals.org.

More information on donating and volunteer opportunities at www.nycservice.org.

 
 
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