The Open Door $1.7M Capital Campaign


(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.

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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, email: or call 978-283-6776.  Donations can be made online at 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


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

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



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 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

THANK YOU for helping local families!

Seaside Vintage Market at Second Glance!


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.

1 Day till Empty Bowl Dinner!

FINAL SNEAK PEEK! Count down begins! Volunteers and staff for The Open Door 18th annual Empty Bowl Dinner on Thursday, May 3 are busy as bees!  Soups and cookies are being made and collected, bowls are journeying from kiln to display!

Doors at Cruiseport Gloucester open at 4 p.m. and close at 8p.m. so you have 4 solid hours to fall in love with a bowl, bid on those Silent Auction Bowls, and tuck into some delicious local soup, bread and cookies!

This year is The Open Door’s 40th Anniversary, so come also to eat cake and celebrate!

Hope to see you there!


18th Empty Bowl Dinner May 3!

The meal is simple– soup, bread and a cookie. Choose a beautiful bowl made with care by a local artist, and take it home as an unspoken reminder that somewhere in our community someone’s bowl is empty.

The Open Door’s 18th annual Empty Bowl Dinner will be held on Thursday, May 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Cruiseport Gloucester.  Extra parking is available at Good Harbor Beach with free trolley service provided by CATA to and from the event site. Tickets are $20 ($15 for children under 10) and available at the door. Cash, check or charge.

“The Open Door provides household stabilization with good food,” said Julie LaFontaine, executive director. “The Empty Bowl Dinner helps raise awareness of hunger in our community and supports our Summer Meals and Mobile Market programs with locations in Gloucester, Rockport and Ipswich.”

More than 1,000 bowls have been created for the event by community members young and old.  Silent Auction bowls include donated talent from local artists and professional potters. Soup has been comes from generous restaurants and caterers. TheOpenDoor.EmptyBowls.Collag.2018

“The event is an example of a community coming together,” said LaFontaine. “Each one contributes to make a successful evening, and the bowl goes home as a reminder that somewhere, someone’s bowl is empty.”

Last year The Open Door improved the health and lives of 7,747 individuals with 1,837,094 pounds of fresh produce, meals and groceries.

For more information call, 978-283-6776, or visit

Donate $30 to Provide a Holiday Meal Basket for local families

The Open Door needs help to give Holiday Meal Baskets to local families this year. A donation of $30 provides a turkey, potatoes, butternut squash, apples, stuffing, cranberry and more. Make checks payable to: The Open Door, and write “turkey” in the memo line. 28 Emerson Avenue, Gloucester, MA 01930. The Open Door serves residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, and Ipswich. To donate online or for more information please visit

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.