SmartChoice™ at The Open Door Modernizes Pantry Shopping

New Online Ordering System Returns Agency to Shoppers

GLOUCESTER — A new online ordering system at The Open Door has expanded choice more than ever before for client shoppers.

SmartChoice™ at The Open Door launched this June and allows clients to place a weekly grocery order that matches any special dietary needs they may have as well as their taste. Clients select from featured items, fruit and juices, vegetables, protein and dairy, ready-to-eat items, grains and cereal, baking, snacks, condiments, special dietary items, pet supplies, household supplies, health and hygiene products, baby food and supplies, and miscellaneous items.

Once clients sign into SmartChoice™ at The Open Door at FOODPANTRY.org/order, they can use the above menu to create their weekly grocery order. (Image Courtesy of
The Open Door)

“When people choose their own groceries, we know they’re getting the food they’ll eat and enjoy to thrive,” President and CEO Julie LaFontaine said. “We’re proud to have this new resource for our clients.”

Before the online ordering system became available, The Open Door provided bags of pre-selected groceries for clients starting in March 2020 in response to the pandemic. This was done through a Curbside, No-Contact model used at both the Gloucester and Ipswich food pantries, and protected the health and well-being of clients, volunteers, and staff alike while also expanding the nonprofit’s capacity to meet increased need. While the curbside model was necessary to feed more people, it left shoppers with less personal choice.

At the height of the pandemic, The Open Door met a 40% increase in need for food resources, and continues to meet ongoing need.

Today, clients are still picking-up their groceries at either site or receiving deliveries if they qualify for The Open Door grocery and meal delivery program. However, SmartChoice™ at The Open Door brings more choice to the table than ever before. It accounts for every item available in The Open Door’s inventory, working seamlessly in partnership with the warehouse. Grocery orders are managed by the Fulfillment Center, where staff and volunteers package grocery orders Monday through Friday.

Volunteer Laurie Fenton prepares a grocery order placed via SmartChoice™ at
The Open Door. (Image Courtesy of The Open Door)

Translation services are available over the phone in many languages. Those without internet access, with questions, or who prefer to place their order by phone are welcome to do so by calling 978-283-6776.   

About The Open Door


The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in our community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security.

Founded in 1978, The Open Door is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit and community food resource center for low-income residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Boxford, Rowley, Topsfield, and Wenham. In 2020, The Open Door helped stabilize the lives and health of 9,681 unduplicated people from 4,703 households through the distribution of 2.46 million pounds of food, amounting to 2.05 million meals. Requests for food assistance during this pandemic year were up 27 percent.

Programs of The Open Door include two food pantries (located in Gloucester and in Ipswich), 12 Mobile Markets, Community Meals, SNAP Application assistance and Advocacy, Medically Tailored Groceries, Nutrition Education, Therapy and Counseling, Food Rescue, Summer Meals for Kids, On Your Mark Job Training and Internships, Holiday Baskets, Senior Soup & Salad, (NEW) SmartChoice™ at The Open Door and (NEW) Grocery and Meal Delivery. Second Glance, the thrift store of The Open Door, provides revenue for the organization, referrals for people in need, and recycles textiles and other materials.

For more information, visit FOODPANTRY.org.  

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Free Meals for Kids During the Summer!

Free breakfasts and lunches for kids through the summer!

Summer Meals for Kids, provided by The Open Door, Cape Ann’s go-to hunger-relief organization launched this week providing at least 11 sites in Gloucester and Cape Ann so kids and their families can make sure no kid goes hungry while school is out.

All sites serve take-out meals only, so children can eat at home with their families. Breakfast and lunch is bundled together, and Friday sites hand out extra meals for Saturday and Sunday.  Last year during the summer, The Open Door distributed 39K meals to local children–a FIVE-FOLD increase over pre-pandemic norms. This year the same need is expected. Current sites include:

GLOUCESTER 

  • The Open Door 

28 Emerson Avenue 
June 17-August 27 

Mon thru Fri 
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

  •  Riverdale Park 

69 Veterans’ Way 

June 17- August 27 

Mon thru Fri 

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

  •  Willowood Gardens 

40 Willowood Road 

June 17- August 27 

Mon thru Fri 

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

  •  Pond View Village 

23 Lepage Lane 

June 17-August 27 

Mon thru Fri 

11:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m. 

  •  West Parish School 

10 Concord Street 

(Enrolled) 

June 28-August 5 

Mon thru Thu 
11:15 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. 

  •  Beeman School 

138 Cherry Street 

(Enrolled) 

June 28-July 29 

Mon thru Thu 

12:00 noon 

  •  O’Maley Innovation Middle School 

32 Cherry Street 

(Enrolled) 

June 28-August 19 

Mon thru Thu 

12:00 noon 

  •  Gloucester High School 

32 Leslie O Johnson Rd 

(Enrolled) 

July 6-August 6 

Mon thru Thu 

10:30am 

  •  Camp Spindrift 

13 Atlantic Street 

(Enrolled) 

June 17-August 27 

Mon thru Thu 

11:00 a.m. – 1:00PM 

IPSWICH  

  • Ipswich Community Food Pantry 

00 Southern Heights 
June 23-August 27 

Wed and Thu 
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

  •  Winthrop Elementary School

65 Central Street 

(Enrolled) 

July 6th-August 12th 

Mon thru Th 

Breakfast: 10-10:30AM  Lunch: 12-12:30PM 

For more information, go to FOODPANTRY.ORG/summermeals or call 978-283-6776 

About The Open Door

The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in our community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security. Founded in 1978, The Open Door is a community food resource center for low-income residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Boxford, Rowley, Topsfield, and Wenham. In 2020, The Open Door helped stabilize the lives and health of 9,681 unduplicated people from 4,703 households through the distribution of 2.64M pounds of food (or 2.05M meals.) Requests for food assistance during this pandemic year were up 27 percent.

 

SEPTEMBER IS HUNGER ACTION MONTH!

WEAR ORANGE SEPT 10 & DRIVE-THRU FOOD DRIVE SEPT 12!

September–Hunger Action Month–brings together community groups Awesome Rockport, Gloucester Police Dept., Rockport Exchange and We Are All In This Together to partner with The Open Door at a three-site Drive-Thru Food Drive on Saturday, September 12 from 8 am-1pm. Food drive locations include the Building Center and Market Basket in Gloucester, and Crackerjacks at Whistlestop Market in Rockport.

Community group volunteers will be on hand to collect donated items including canned tuna, 100% juice, cooking oil, tea/coffee, condiments, and baking mixes.

“Through wholesale purchase and the Greater Boston Food Bank, we are able to secure most of the staple items we need for a robust pantry distribution,” says The Open Door CEO Julie LaFontaine. “This community-wide Food Drive will add a little variety and a special treat for people hardest hit by the economic impact of COVID. In addition to tuna and 100% juice, we are asking for baking mixes, cooking oil, condiments—mayo, mustard, ketchup—coffee or tea.”

  • Patty Wall founder of We Are All In This Together states, “We are excited to be a part of this collaborative effort!  It is our hope that the Gloucester and Rockport communities can come together to comfort and support our individuals, families and vital community resources like The Open Door. “
  • Shannon Mason, representing the collaboration Awesome Rockport and Rockport Exchange says, “Awesome Rockport and Rockport Exchange are organizations committed to community and very glad to be a part of this effort!”
  • Tim Huff, Chief Financial Officer of the Building Center says, “We’re thrilled to be able to participate in this event to help those in need and raise awareness about hunger in our community especially during these challenging times.”
  • Gloucester Police Lieutenant Jeremiah Nicastro of the Gloucester Police Community Impact Unit states, “The job of the community impact unit is to improve the quality of life of the citizens in our community, and there is no better way to do this but to collaborate, partner, and support agencies that help people in our community like The Open Door.” 

Since mid-March, The Open Door has stabilized more than 5,000 households providing more than 750K meals through more than 15,000 curbside distributions and/or deliveries from their pantries to people in 10 Essex County cities and towns. The kitchen has prepared and distributed more than 20K fresh dinners.  The cumulative service total for people reached over these six months is more than 25K.  The Community Meal program has undergone a FOUR-FOLD increase, and Summer Meals for Kids (extended through mid-September when schools start) has increased FIVE-FOLD serving children under the age of 18 free breakfast and lunch 7 days a week. 

LIGHT THE CITY ORANGE! Members of the community are also encouraged to wear orange on Hunger Action Day (Sept 10) and Gloucester City Hall will light the city orange.

Hunger Action Month focuses food bank and food pantry efforts across the country to raise the awareness of hunger in their own communities including those new to hunger due to COVID. This year, it also honors the local volunteers and staff working on the frontlines to ensure all are fed.

The Open Door $1.7M Capital Campaign

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(February 18, 2020) Gloucester, MA – – THE OPEN DOOR, a local nonprofit dedicated to alleviating food insecurity in the community, launches a $1.7M capital campaign to acquire the adjacent property 26 Emerson Avenue to expand its operations and build a new state-of-the-art commercial production kitchen.

The Open Door’s expansion project will add cold and dry storage, enhance client service areas, increase transportation capacity, and improve the living environment for Cape Ann’s low and moderate-income populations. This critical effort, the culmination of a 5-year strategic plan, will increase The Open Door’s capacity to distribute more nutritious food, develop greater opportunities for community engagement, and provide long-term solutions to hunger throughout the Region.

“We are thrilled to share the news of our kitchen expansion capital campaign,” said Kersten Lanes, Chair of The Open Door Board of Directors. “Our kitchen is the heart of everything we do at The Open Door.  With a larger, more professional, well-designed space, we will prep our Medically Tailored Groceries, host multiple volunteer groups, expand our training opportunities, and of course, produce hundreds of thousands of delicious meals for our clients!”

Approximately 90 percent of the funds have already been pledged or received towards the $1.7 million goal. This was accomplished during the quiet phase of the campaign and completed in December 2019. The Open Door will be reaching out to the community at large to raise the remaining 10% with the goal to complete this final fundraising phase by late spring.

The Open Door reflects what this community thinks is important—its people,” said Julie LaFontaine, President, and CEO of The Open Door.The community’s investment in this project is an investment in the lives and health of people we serve that will pay dividends of which we can all be proud.”

The kitchen expansion project will connect the existing properties of 26 and 28 Emerson Avenue to become a unified campus that will strengthen The Open Door’s food distribution systems and build nutritional capacity throughout their programs.

The generosity of our early donors recognizes the critical need to increase capacity to help those feeling the economic pinch in our community. They have created a solid foundation for this vital expansion of our nutrition-based operations,” added LaFontaine.For this we are truly grateful.”

The expanded campus of The Open Door will include a brand new, state-of-the-art teaching and commercial production kitchen that will prepare fresh meals daily for their programs. From Community Meals to Senior Soup and Salad, and partially prepped, fully prepped, and Grab ‘n Go items, the kitchen will increase production and utilize more food rescue product for distribution. The new kitchen will give larger groups of volunteers who come to help prepare food and meals for clients the elbow room they need to work together. The kitchen will also serve as an experiential learning classroom for the organization’s successful “On Your Mark” youth training culinary track embedded in existing programs.

The new campus will provide The Open Door much needed dry storage space for large quantities of donations, an additional cold storage unit dedicated exclusively for the kitchen, plus newly configured dish washing and laundry rooms. It will also house two electric kilns to fire bowls year-round for the Empty Bowl Dinner project that engages more than one thousand local people each year.

Strategically positioned to work with healthcare providers to offer medical nutrition therapy coupled with Medically Tailored Groceries, the new building will provide The Open Door capacity for innovation and growth at the intersection of nutrition and healthcare. It will give ample space for private counseling, workshops, and training activities to focus on health outcomes through nutrition education and open to clients and the public.

Lastly, as part of the expansion, the organization will make upgrades to the organization’s aging transportation fleet—two trucks and three vans. Efficient and reliable transportation is key to daily food acquisition with pickups from grocers and growers throughout the Greater Boston area. Last year, 25 percent of the 2.05 million pounds of food distributed—more than 500K pounds— was rescued from more than 55 local food collaborators. In 2019, The Open Door provided 1.71million meals to 8,287 unduplicated people.

This new property and expansion is a game-changer for The Open Door – and for our community,” shares LaFontaine.We followed a strategic growth plan to get us to this point. This expansion will enable us to address the community’s food security needs through the lens of better health. It will help us become even more efficient while increasing our food distribution capacity and adding critical services.

Last May, The Open Door purchased the 26 Emerson Avenue property, located adjacent to its main facility in Gloucester. The building plans are currently in progress. The leadership hopes work will begin this summer and be completed by the end of the year.

 # # #

The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in the community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security.  Last year it provided 1.71 million meals —2.05 million pounds of food — to   8,287 people through its food pantries and Mobile Markets. It serves residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester By the Sea, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham, Rowley, Boxford and Topsfield.

For more information about The Open Door and ways to support the Capital Campaign, please visit foodpantry.org, email: info@foodpantry.org or call 978-283-6776.  Donations can be made online at http://www.foodpantry.org or by mail to 28 Emerson Ave., Gloucester, MA 01930.

Come Paint A Bowl for The Open Door Empty Bowl Dinner!

 

Want something fun and free to do with friends  or family? Come paint a bowl for The Open Door 20th Annual Empty Bowl Dinner. The bowls will be given out at the dinner as a reminder that somewhere in our community someone’s bowl is empty.

Painting is free!

Empty bowl events are held nationwide to generate funds and awareness for hunger-relief programs. Proceeds from this event support The Open Door summer programs that include Summer Meals for Kids and Mobile Markets. Empty Bowl Dinner is made possible because volunteers like you lend their time and talent to paint a bowl!

This event is open to members of the public who preregister through Eventbrite.

Our public bowl painting events are:

Saturday, February 8 from 10 am – 12 pm

Saturday, March 7 from 10 am – 12 pm

Sign up today to reserve a spot here

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

The Open Door 20th Annual Empty Bowl Dinner will be on May 14 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The Open Door Thanksgiving Meals

There’s still time to make a family’s Thanksgiving!

Gobble, gobble! More than 350 volunteers came together at The Open Door this weekend to assemble and distribute Holiday Baskets and join food drives throughout Cape Ann and beyond to help feed local families and people that need a little help over Thanksgiving.

Mountains of orange and green bags filled with potatoes, carrots, stuffing, squash, apples, cranberry sauce, muffin mix, gravy, and, of course, plump turkeys, ensured local families have ALL the fixings to prepare a hearty Thanksgiving meal with their own traditions in their own homes.

Big shout-out to the entire community for the Thanksgiving food drives held Saturday, Nov 23 at five local grocery store locations that collected 24,320 pounds of food for The Open Door that will help stock neighbors’ shelves over the next few months.

Distribution of Thanksgiving Baskets continues through Wednesday, Nov 27 at The Open Door so no one in need will go without.

You can still help!

Donate $30 to The Open Door to provide a Holiday Meal basket this Thanksgiving at foodpantry.org

If you need help!

You may still register for a Holiday Meal Basket at The Open Door, 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester or call 978 283 6776 for more information. (The Open Door serves residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-By-the-Sea, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham, Boxford, Topsfield and Rowley.)

Happy Thanksgiving! #CommunityKindness

The Book Fair at The Glance!

Saturday, June 29 & Sunday, June 30

Second Glance Thrift Store | 2 Pond Road, Gloucester

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Second Glance Thrift Store presents The Book Fair at The Glance with a wide variety of reading choices. Come shop from a selection of high-quality books pulled from premium inventory and saved for this special two-day blowout event. Thousands of titles are available at this book bonanza with something for everyone.

The Book Fair at The Glance on Facebook

Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 5 pm. All proceeds benefit The Open Door.

The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in our community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security. The Open Door serves residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, Ipswich, Topsfield, Boxford, Rowley, Hamilton, and Wenham.

To find out more about The Open Door or donate online, visit FOODPANTRY.ORG.

The Open Door Summer Meals for Kids Kick OFF

TheOpenDoor.SummerMeals.2015

LET NO KID GO HUNGRY OVER THE SUMMER!

Free food, fun, music and adventure are open to all at The Open Door USDA Summer Meals for Kids Kick Off picnic from 11am-2p.m on Wednesday,  June 19, the day after school gets out, at Riverdale Park in Gloucester.

Free meals will be available for children up to the age of 18 at 10 sites, 8 in Gloucester and 2 in Ipswich through out the 10 weeks of summer.

Open sites (No Enrollment Required) include:

  • Riverdale Park: June 19-Aug 23; Mon-Fri;12:30p.m.-1 p.m.
  • Willowood Gardens: June 20-Aug 23; Mon-Fri;11:45a.m.-12:15p.m.

Closed/Enrolled sites (Registration Required) include:

  • Camp Windward: June 24-Aug 23:Mon-Fri; 11:30a-12:30p.m.(SFSP)
  • Veterans’ Elementary, Gloucester: June 24-Aug 1; Mon-Thu, 11:30a.m.-12:00p.m. (SFSP)
  • Camp Spindrift: June 19-Aug 23; Mon-Fri; 11a.m.-1p.m.
  • Achievement Gap. West Parish Elementary, Gloucester: July 8-August 16; Mon-Fri, Breakfast: 8:30a-8:50a; Lunch:12:00-12:30pm
  • Family Supper at The Open Door: June 19-Aug 23; Tuesday evenings only 4:00p.m.-5:30p.m.
  • The Food Project at The Open Door: Wednesdays; July 10-Aug 14; 12:30p.m.-1p.m.
  • Ipswich Community Food Pantry, Ipswich: June 19-August 23; Tue-Thu-;11:00a.m.-1:00p.m.
  • Winthrop Elementary School, Ipswich: July 8-Aug 8; Mon-Thu 11:30am-12:30 p.m. (SFSP)

No service on July 4. A full list of sites may be found at foodpantry.org or call 978 283 6776 for more information!

Hope to see you there!

The Open Door COMMUNITY WIDE Thanksgiving Food Drive 2018

Come join your fellow neighbors in a community-wide Food Drive from Gloucester to Rowley on Saturday, November 17 ! Help feed our neighbors!

The Open Door Thanksgiving Food Drive with North Shore 104.9 will be held in Gloucester on Saturday, November 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Shaw’s on Eastern Avenue and in Ipswich, Stop & Shop on Thatcher Road, and Market Basket at Gloucester Crossing and in Rowley. Volunteers will be at each location to receive your donation. Items most needed: Tuna, peanut butter, hearty soups, cereal and juice. No glass, please. For more information or to download a list, please visit FOODPANTRY.org

THANK YOU for helping local families!

Seaside Vintage Market at Second Glance!

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SEASIDE VINTAGE MARKET  at Second Glance, June 2 & 3!

Mid-century vintage finds, Boho Chic, food and music come to Second Glance, the thrift store of The Open Door during its first annual Seaside Vintage Market on June 2 (9 a.m. -7 p.m.) and June 3 (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.) at 2 Pond Road, Gloucester.

For more than a year, volunteers and staff have been saving vintage treasures to transform the thrift store in to a once-in-a-year vintage extravaganza. Overnight, shelves will be cleared, reorganized, and those special treasures dusted and displayed for the weekend revelry.

Last year, Second Glance headed out of town to a vintage fair in Maine. It was so successful, they decided to stay put this year, and bring the vintage buzz to Cape Ann.

“We are really excited to bring Seaside Vintage Market to Second Glance,” says Julie LaFontaine, Executive Director of The Open Door. “Sales of treasures donated by the community support our local neighbors, and the two-day event promises to be an adventure for the savvy shopper!”

Along with vintage housewares, clothing, furniture, jewelry, and unique finds, local hot dog stand Red Umbrella, (aka Joe Hot-Dog Junior) will offer refreshments, and local musicians will entertain.

The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in our community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security. The Open Door serves residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, Ipswich, Topsfield, Boxford, Rowley, Hamilton, and Wenham.