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clifford-gmelich-101111Mairead Clifford, left, and Victoria Gmelich, hope to give their daughters and other young women the same kind of high school experience they had. (Click to enlarge)


Two Rumson women on a quest to develop an all-girls Catholic high school were heartened recently to find that thousands of area parents are just as interested in the idea as they are.

Victoria Gmelich and Mairead (pronounced ‘mah-RAID’) Clifford conducted an online survey last month to gauge interest in bringing such an institution to Monmouth County. They anticipated about 800 families would participate, but ended up with 2,000 responses.

Now, it’s time to “analyze the data and actually prove to ourselves what we think we already know — that there is a big need in this area for an all-girls school,” Gmelich tells redbankgreen.

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housesThe two properties adjoining Lunch Break, at right above, will be used to provide social services and clothing to the needy, if plans are approved. (Click to enlarge)


Space is tight at Lunch Break, the Red Bank soup kitchen.

Because of soaring demand for hot meals and canned goods, the need for pantry space has soared, too. Volunteers handling administrative duties share dining tables with clients who come for the meals. Every Saturday, bundles of clothing stored in the basement of the 25-year-old facility named for co-founder Norma Todd must be carted upstairs, out through a parking lot and back into the ground-floor dining room for distribution to clients in need.  When winter approaches, executive director Gwen Love has to clear out of her cramped office so clients can get flu shots in private.

The space shortage is more than just an inconvenience. It impinges on Lunch Break’s mission, says Love: to deliver services to those in need with a measure of dignity and respect.

So the recent donation of two houses adjoining Lunch Break’s home at 121 on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, just as the organization was about to embark on a search for additional space, was something of a “miracle,” says Love.

“Every now and then, it rains down blessings,” she tells redbankgreen.

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