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103-year-old New City man among recipients of Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving meals

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Marcus Solis has the story about how an army of volunteers are making a difference. (WABC)

Meals on Wheels staff and volunteers were out early Thursday, taking holiday meals to thousands of elderly and disabled New Yorkers.

The deliveries happen year round across the nation, but this Thanksgiving in Rockland County, a most special recipient expressed his thanks.

Richard Roberts, of New City, who is 103 years young.

"They do a very good job," he said. "Rain or shine, they're here."

Roberts' closest relative is a niece who lives in Las Vegas, and so there's need for a little local help.

"He's got a whole support system," neighbor Rick Petty said. "Neighbors and friends who care about him."

Roberts is just one of more than 500 stops for Meals on Wheels volunteers in Rockland, where they gathered early Thursday to distribute prepackaged hot meals consisting of turkey and the trimmings.

Many of those who make the rounds on holidays are elected officials.

"When we deliver the food, especially on holidays, to the same families, you get to know them a little bit better," Rockland County Executive Ed Day said. "You get to see the joy in their eyes, that what you're doing means something. It's really a very satisfying feeling."

Meals on Wheels has operated in Rockland for over 40 years, delivering more than 9 million meals. But the program is about much more than food.

"We deliver a safety check," volunteer Sharon Martin said. "We make sure that they're home safe, and we make sure that they can remain home independently, safer. We deliver the delicious, nutritious food, and then we provide a lot of friendly conversation."

It's a vital service with a need for volunteers not only on Thanksgiving day.

"All it really only takes an hour once a week or once every other week, and that's all it is," Martin said. "If you've got an hour, you could give back to the community and people in need."

And for people like Roberts, every little bit makes all the difference.

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foodthanksgivingfoodNew City
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