UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — An Upper East Side community center will be better served to provide meals to thousands of neighborhood youths and seniors following a $2.1 million kitchen renovation, city officials and senior center employees said.
The new kitchen at the Stanley M. Isaacs Center opened Monday to the delight of participants in the center's programs and the kitchen staff. The center provides on-site meals for seniors and home-delivered meals for the home-bound residents of nearby Stanley M. Isaacs and Holmes Towers public housing residents.
Kitchen staff were forced to feed more than 6,000 people each year using an outdated facility for decades before the renovation, City Councilman Ben Kallos said in a statement. The old facility lacked proper ventilation systems, which negatively affected the health of kitchen staff and posed problems with food storage, which is why Kallos allocated more than $1 million to the renovation.
"We must invest in our seniors and our youth in public housing and throughout our city. As seniors face food insecurity, they deserve a good hot meal from a kitchen equipped to serve them. New lighting will welcome youth to a bright place to learn and grow," Kallos said in a statement.
The $2.1 million project also included upgrades to the Stanley M. Isaacs Center's youth programs such as a complete renovation of youth center bathrooms, new lighting fixtures and new doors. The center's youth programs include after-school programs for low-income families living in the Isaacs and Holmes housing developments and development programs for out-of-school and out-of-work young people.
Money that was not allocated for the project by Kallos came from the New York City Housing Authority.
"Feeding older adults and families in need, as well as providing safe and engaging places for children to learn, grow and play have been central to the mission of the Isaacs Center, since its founding. Renovations to our senior center kitchen and youth center facilities are a significant win for this community and speak to the City's renewed focus on critical investments in public housing residents," Gregory Morris, president of the community center, said in a statement.