New York, March 26, 2020—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation today announced two emergency grants—a $1 million grant to Citymeals on Wheels and a $250,000 grant to God’s Love We Deliver—totaling $1.25 million to support efforts to feed and nourish New York City’s elderly and health-compromised populations during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. With the announcement of “Matilda’s Law” as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s March 20 executive order—a measure requiring New York’s most vulnerable populations, including individuals age 70 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying illnesses stay home and limit home visitation to avoid exposure to the virus—there is an urgent need for targeted support for these community members. During this time of great need and uncertainty, the Mellon Foundation is committed to doing its part to aid local nonprofit partners in New York City and hopes others will join.
Absent a crisis, many of New York City’s elderly population rely on Citymeals on Wheels and God’s Love We Deliver to provide essential assistance in the form of nutritious meals delivered throughout all five boroughs. With the COVID-19 crisis, these organizations are seeing an overwhelming demand for their services for vulnerable homebound populations in need.
“In the midst of challenges and uncertainty, New Yorkers are united by an extraordinary sense of ‘village’ and ‘family’ that has united communities around the world,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “In the face of unprecedented need in this pandemic, Citymeals and God’s Love We Deliver have remained steadfast in their missions to provide meals to the most vulnerable populations.”
“The Mellon Foundation is eager to support Citymeals and God’s Love We Deliver as they serve on the front lines, feeding elderly and health-compromised homebound New Yorkers. We admire the work that they are doing, preparing and delivering needed meals, and enlisting others too in serving and protecting our most vulnerable neighbors in this pandemic,” stated Michele Warman, the Foundation’s executive vice president, chief operating officer, general counsel and secretary. “We hope that others join these urgent efforts by making a contribution.”
Citymeals has delivered more than 150,000 meals to the 18,000 homebound elderly it serves in addition to supporting an additional 22,000 older New Yorkers who rely on senior centers for daily meals but who are unable to travel to them. God’s Love We Deliver cooks and delivers medically-tailored meals to 4,600 vulnerable and health-challenged, homebound clients, including meals for their senior caregivers and dependent children.
“Citymeals on Wheels is a lifeline for homebound elderly New Yorkers, who were already isolated and vulnerable before COVID-19,” said Beth Shapiro, executive director of Citymeals on Wheels. “We are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for the generous support that will help us meet the challenges of these unprecedented times.” Amid the growing coronavirus outbreak Citymeals has continued its home-delivered meal program and is preparing to package and deliver an additional 300,000 emergency meals for older New Yorkers in need. As the designated emergency responder for New York City’s seniors, Citymeals ensures older New Yorkers have sustaining and nourishing meals during this public health crisis.
“This is an unprecedented time for New York City and for God’s Love We Deliver,” says God’s Love We Deliver Vice President and Chief Development Officer David Ludwigson. “Our clients are the most vulnerable and at-risk population, as they are living with underlying severe and/or chronic illness, and the majority are seniors. Every day we receive more calls asking for help, and this generous gift from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help us meet the increased need for our medically-tailored meals and nutrition counseling, ensuring that we can be there for our neighbors at a time when they need us most.” And to make sure New York City’s most vulnerable homebound with serious health challenges have nutritious food during this health care crisis, God’s Love We Deliver has hired additional temporary workers to help with kitchen services, facilities, meal packaging, and delivery to ensure all deliveries reach their clients and additional vulnerable people in need. The organization is purchasing additional shelf-stable food for clients and for additional vulnerable people in the event that services are disrupted.
About Citymeals on Wheels
Citymeals on Wheels (citymeals.org) provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to New York City’s homebound elderly. Working in partnership with community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals prepares and delivers over 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals for more than 18,000 of our frail, aged neighbors each year. Last year, over 26,000 individuals volunteered more than 90,000 hours of time to Citymeals’ mission.
About God’s Love We Deliver
God’s Love We Deliver cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves. Founded in 1985 as a response to the AIDS pandemic, we now serve people living with more than 200 different diagnoses. To support the health and well-being of our clients, we provide ongoing nutrition assessment, education, and counseling, and advocate for food and nutrition support. God’s Love is a non-sectarian organization serving individuals living with illness, and their children and caregivers. With a community of more than 17,000 volunteers, we deliver 2.1 million meals annually. All services are free to clients and full of love. For more information, visit godslovewedeliver.org.
About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Founded in 1969, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seeks to strengthen, promote, and defend the centrality of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse, fair, and democratic societies. To this end, our core programs support exemplary and inspiring institutions of higher education and culture. Additional information is available at mellon.org.