Hardships in “the capital of the world.”
Photo: Mariela Lombard / El Diario NY
Magda Meléndez and her daughter Liz Cantillo are working together to help the city feed the elderly in need, a situation that has worsened with the unemployment and isolation generated by the pandemic coronavirus, one of the worst economic crises in NYC history.
Mother and daughter are managers of the non-profit organization “Citymeals on Wheels” in the Bronx, the traditionally poorest county in the city. They work almost every day a week, in charge of the warehouse on Drake Street, its central hub, where they they pack and distribute 5,000 meals each week.
There’s a reason they work so well together helping others: they come from a very close family, from the Crotona neighborhood from The Bronx. “They are a dynamic duo. They get things done. They really work in sync, ”Ottis Lewis, one of the workers on his team, told Pix11.
Meléndez has worked there for 23 years. Cantillo says he practically grew up in the warehouse watching his mother help others. Her mother is her best friend and now she has become her mentor and hero.
“It has been great for our friendship. She used to tell me what to do all the time. Now she listens, now we are co-workers and bosses and we manage this warehouse and we do it together, ”Cantillo summed up.
Both of them manage teams of dozens of workers, collecting thousands of boxes of senior food throughout the city. “It has been incredible working with my daughter, having her by my side, learning from each other, having our relationship and seeing the woman she had become,” said Meléndez.
The proud mother says it feels good to know that her daughter is following in her footsteps. What’s more, their husbands also work in the warehouse.
During the pandemic, “CityMeals on Wheels” has provided more than 3 million meals to elderly New Yorkers. If you want to donate, work with them or volunteer, visit their portal.
Thanks to @monicamoralestv and @ PIX11News for spotlighting Citymeals’ dynamic duo, Magda Melendez and Liz Cantillo, who manage our Emergency Meal Distribution Center in the Bronx. https://t.co/V7sk9IX7ah
– Citymeals on Wheels (@Citymeals) May 27, 2021