The Wave | on November 25, 2022
By Wayne Daren Schneiderman
There are some significant strides being made when it comes to stomping out hunger in underserved Rockaway communities as of late.
In Far Rockaway this past Friday, Nov. 18, The Campaign Against Hunger (TCAH), a leading NYC anti-hunger organization, served approximately 800 people at its 24th annual Thanksgiving food distribution event, giving away turkeys, fresh produce, groceries, and more, to New Yorkers facing food insecurity. The event took place at Far Rock Farm on Beach 45th and Beach Channel Drive.
“In 2022, TCAH will be giving away 4,000 turkeys in New York and in Queens, 300 to 400, including 200 hams and 300 chickens,” said Dr. Melony Samuels, TCAH’s CEO and founder. “The Rockaway community, and all black and brown communities are struggling to put food on the table, and we have to make positive changes,” Samuels said. “We want to bring hope where there has been hopelessness. Rising food costs and 40-year high inflation has caused many New Yorkers to turn to emergency providers like TCAH for support.”
Samuels pointed out that the greatest challenge her organization faces is probably securing the resources to do what it is that they do.
“We can’t use regular city dollars; we have to fund raise, and find donors that believe in the cause,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for 34 years. I’m just a typical neighbor that cares about her community. But Rockaway is a passionate community, filled with loving, caring, beautiful people.”
Andrea Fisher, longtime Rockaway resident, and first time volunteer for the event, mentioned that “there is a glaring disparity here in Far Rock when it comes to food. And while people look forward to this event every year, and it is incredibly helpful, it’s certainly not solving everything,” Fisher said, “but it does a lot to help our community in time of need and time of crisis.”
TCAH has also recently partnered with DoorDash, announcing an “Online Pantry” at Arverne View Community Food Distribution Center this past Monday, Nov. 21. Rockaway residents, like seniors, people with disabilities, and those who lack transportation to in-person pantry sites, can get food delivered in the comfort of their own home. DoorDash will deliver groceries to clients within a 10-mile radius of the Arverne Food Distribution site.
Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson also spoke about working with TCAH and the newly-formed “Food Sovereignty Coalition” to address the neighborhood hunger crisis all-year-round.
“Last month I was proud to announce a $250,000 investment for TCAH’s Greenhouse Project in Edgemere – a community with the highest poverty and food insecurity rates across the Rockaway peninsula, according to a recent report by the state comptroller,” Anderson told The Wave. “This historic capital funding award will help Edgemere and Far Rockaway develop a self-sufficient and food-sovereign ecosystem by expanding access to healthier foods, streamlining food networks, and investing in food supply infrastructure – while empowering our local youth through agriculture training and development.”