Food Charity Needs Increase in Glendale & Ridgewood

In the spring of 2024, amidst the ongoing recovery from a global pandemic, the neighborhoods of Glendale and Ridgewood in Queens, New York, are grappling with a rapidly intensifying crisis that belies their suburban affluence. With median home prices reaching $862,000 in Glendale and soaring to $1.2 million in Ridgewood, these communities present a façade of prosperity. However, beneath this veneer lies a starkly different reality: an escalating demand for food assistance that challenges the perception of suburban wealth.

The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH), a vanguard in the fight against food insecurity, has reported a startling 181% increase in pantry services in Ridgewood and an even more concerning 281% increase in Glendale. These figures not only highlight a burgeoning crisis but also underscore the organization’s critical role in meeting an unprecedented demand for food assistance amidst dwindling resources. Despite facing challenges such as a decrease in funding, partly due to the exodus of donors from New York City, TCAH has managed to distribute over 25 million nutritious meals to more than 2 million community members since the onset of the pandemic. This response was unparalleled, significantly eclipsing their pre-pandemic impact and underscoring their pivotal role in the community’s resilience.

The underlying causes of this surge in food insecurity are multifaceted. The United Way’s True Cost of Living policy brief sheds light on the grim economic realities faced by residents, which are far removed from the average incomes that the home prices in these areas might suggest. Despite an average annual household income of $94,274 in these neighborhoods, with a median income of $77,350, the cost of living in New York City, amplified by the pandemic’s economic impact, has pushed an increasing number of families towards the brink of financial instability. This discrepancy highlights the inadequacy of median incomes to cover basic living expenses, including healthcare, childcare, and transportation, let alone the inflated housing costs.

The escalating demand for food assistance in Glendale and Ridgewood is a reflection of a broader societal issue, where the true cost of living far exceeds what many residents earn. This situation has resulted in a hidden crisis of hunger and food insecurity in communities that, on the surface, appear to thrive economically. Dr. Melony Samuels, the Founder & CEO of TCAH, emphasizes that behind every statistic is a real person or family facing difficult choices between paying bills and ensuring food security. “The numbers are a wake-up call,” she states, advocating for greater awareness and action to address this pressing issue.

TCAH’s efforts to combat hunger in these neighborhoods go beyond mere statistics. They represent a beacon of hope and solidarity, showcasing the importance of community organizations in providing essential services and support during times of crisis. The organization’s work, particularly in serving 15% of its client base from Glendale and Ridgewood, illustrates the critical need for both immediate and long-term solutions to urban food insecurity.

As TCAH continues to navigate the challenges of increased demand for food assistance, their work is a poignant reminder of the hidden hunger that persists in the midst of apparent abundance. It calls for a collective response from policymakers, community leaders, and the public to ensure that the fundamental right to food is not compromised by economic disparities. The situation in Glendale and Ridgewood exemplifies the urgent need for a comprehensive strategy to address the root causes of food insecurity, ensuring that no resident is left behind in the quest for a prosperous and equitable future.



  • Data, The Campaign Against Hunger internal data systems

Dominican Academy Takes Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Seriously

By Oona Milliken

Dominican Academy, an all-girls Catholic school located in the heart of the Upper East Side, is like a family, according to school President Dr. Alexandria Egler, who has been in her position since July 2022. Egler said the school is small and fluctuates between 240-250 students due to the size of their campus and a desire to maintain a small class size.

“I think that’s an advantage because there’s individualized attention. If you’re looking for a school to get lost in the crowd, this is not the school,” Egler said. “Faculty and staff here at D.A., when those 240 students walk into our door every day, they become our daughters. That’s the kind of atmosphere we have here.”

Dominican Academy, which first opened in 1897, is the third highest-ranked Catholic girls’ high school in New York State, with a student ratio of 9:1. For languages, they offer Mandarin, Latin, Spanish and French, and the school is rigorously academic, with 100% of students going on to attend 4-year colleges and universities. The 2023 graduating class garnered close to $19 million in merit-based scholarships and grants for their future collegiate endeavors.

“What I’ve heard from college professors, college administrators, is that when a D.A. girl walks into their university or school, they are not worried,” Egler said. “That student is confident, that student does not hesitate to ask questions, that student does not hesitate to ask for help.”

Lauren Checo, who recently started Director of Admissions in May 2023, said D.A. was proud to offer more than 35 different clubs and seven Varsity sports, including swimming, which can be unusual for a New York school. According to Checo, the D.A. is a place where students are able to figure out who they want to be in the future, in a setting that both challenges and welcomes them.

“That’s something we can offer here, for any girl that qualifies to be here, is that they have this home that they can go to and really be themselves because, at the end of the day, that’s what all students are doing is really being themselves and figuring out who they are as they’re growing up,” Checo said.

Egler said she has been pleased to see the changes in the time since she became President in 2022 and when her daughter graduated from Dominican Academy in 2010. According to Egler, the school has become a lot more diverse in both the student body and the faculty. Egler said that D.A. is not interested in pushing diversity because it is trending in academic settings, but because it enriches a student’s quality of life.

“When I walked in the door, we started focusing even more deeply on diversity, equity, inclusion, and we’ve also added the word belonging to that,” Egler said. “I think [being surrounded by different types of people] is how a person grows in the world, and gains a deeper sense of not just themselves, but everybody else in the world…We are, as Catholics, welcoming and open to diversity. We believe that there is room for everybody under the tent, and nobody should be excluded from that tent.”


Courtesy of Dominican Academy

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing