On Tuesday, New York City nonprofit Citymeals on Wheels is set to serve up its 60 millionth meal, marking a milestone for the organization which delivers food and companionship to over 18,000 homebound elderly residents.

It comes at a critical time of rapid growth for NYC's elderly population. One in five New Yorkers are over the age of 65, and the number of residents 85 or older has increased by 35 percent this year. According to a report done in February, Brooklyn is home to more older adults than any county in New York. Queens follows, taking the second-largest older adult population in the state. 

To keep up with their needs, NYC is working on creating programs to help support the senior citizen population. Citymeals on Wheels is one such program to focus on the older generation. The organization, which has been around for 37 years, works in collaboration with the Department for the Aging and other non-profits to help prepare and deliver food to homebound senior citizens every day. 

According to Citymeals, there are over 167,000 food insecure seniors in the NYC area, meaning that they lack affordable and reliable access to healthy food. That's about one in 10 senior citizens. And, according to the study, 18 percent are living in poverty, having to choose between rent, medicine, and food. 


The recipient of the 60 millionth meal is Dorothy Driscoll, a former emergency nurse. Last year, Driscoll collapsed at home, and her Citymeals deliverer found her and got her to the emergency room. It wasn't the first time something like that happened, and it probably won’t be the last, because according to Citymeals, 8 percent of their recipients don't come in contact with anyone besides their meal delivery person. 

Citymeals reports that 57 percent of meal recipients live alone, and additionally 40 percent rarely leave their homes. 

Beth Shapiro, Executive Director of Citymeals on Wheels said in a press release that “The simple act of delivering a nutritious meal and checking in is often all they need to age with dignity in their own homes and communities...”

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