Hunger has been an ever-present concern in America, which has only been exasperated by the coronavirus pandemic. With more than 1.4 million people over the age of 60 in New York City, Citymeals on Wheels has been working tirelessly to end elder hunger. In a typical year, Citymeals provides two million meals to elder New Yorkers, and has increased their efforts since the start of COVID-19, delivering over three million meals in 2020.
Now, the nonprofit has partnered up with the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art to offer an informative and creative outlet for the older population in the city. The monthly “Your Met Art Box” will include “four art cards with full-color images of works from the Museum’s permanent collection, along with questions and activities to encourage seniors and Citymeals volunteers to explore art and art marking together during weekly conversations.” The volunteers have received extensive training from The Met’s Education Department regarding art techniques and approaches so as to encourage an educational conversation about the featured art.
“Citymeals is thrilled to partner with The Met to bring the arts to homebound elderly New Yorkers,” Senior Director of Volunteer Programs and Corporate Engagement at Citymeals on Wheels Vivienne O’Neill said in a statement. “Many of our recipients have fond memories of trips to the Museum but are no longer able to stroll the galleries. With these monthly art boxes, sent directly to their homes, Citymeals recipients and the volunteers who visit with them can enjoy the wonder and inspiration of art.”
Each art box explores a unique theme for the month. May’s theme was “The Art of Refreshment,” including a collection of teas from Grand Tea & Imports, a local tea shop in Chinatown, as well as drawing and tea-tasting activities. Similarly, July’s theme of “Summer in New York City” will feature instructions and materials to design and create a personal paper fan. Additionally, each monthly box includes a booklet with further information about current art on display, along with two large postcards that also serve as free passes to the Museum. The hope is that recipients will fill out and mail these postcards to their family and friends, inspiring communication and creating community connection through the shared interest of art.
“Art has the power to heal communities and these conversations between Citymeals volunteers and older adults centered around these masterpieces strengthen connections between people,” added Heidi Holder, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chair of Education at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Already, some recipients are using their passes to visit The Met with their friends and family, reconnecting with loved ones as our city re-emerges. We look forward to building on these relationships with our New York neighbors and making our collection accessible to all.”Whizzco