Monday, November 19, 2012

Be Grateful Project - Open Door and the Cape Ann Food Pantry





Continuing the Be Grateful Project through the holiday season with a nod to Gloucester's own Open Door/Cape Ann Food Pantry. Under the energized direction of Julie Hazen LaFontaine, the Open Door offers a free grocery store and community meals for the needy, the elderly and the lonely at their Emerson Ave location as well as neighborhood, senior care and school-based mobile farmers' markets and a second hand clothing and furniture shop at it's "Second Glace" resale boutique on Pond Road. Through collaboration with agencies like Action, North Shore Health Project, the Backyard Growers' Program, Pathways for Children and many others, the Open Door provides outreach education to consumers young and old, healthy and ill and offers the promise of improved quality of life to thousands.

The fact sheet below was taken from the organizations' website and illustrates the power and reach of the Open Door's services in feeding, clothing, and teaching residents in need how to grow and prepare nutritious foods to nurture mind and body. The numbers of residents served by the Open Door in all it's focus areas speaks volumes about their importance in our community - something to keep in mind as you choose which organizations to support in donation season.
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Open Door Service Fact Sheet - Program Services in 2011

Food Pantry provided 444,121 pounds of free canned goods, fresh produce, meats, bread, dairy products, and eggs to 1,487 households during 10,457 visits representing 3,593 people.

Community Meals served 16,324 hot meals to guests needing food and companionship in a safe environment.

Mobile Market, a free farmers’ market, provided 199,732 pounds of fresh produce and groceries to 893 households representing 2,249 people at four neighborhood-based, two school-based, and two senior center-based market sites.

Emerson Market, a free weekly surplus food market, provided access to 27,652 pounds of fresh (and locally grown) produce and wholesome breads.

Summer Lunch served 4,213 lunches to children ages 1-18 at seven sites during a ten-week summer lunch program.

Holiday Meals distributed 1,665 baskets with all the food to provide 9,990 holiday meals.

Collaborative Meals supplied 27,179 pounds of groceries and fresh produce to clients of the North Shore Health Project, Action Shelter, Harvest Meals, the North Shore Hunger Network, and the Chill Zone.

The Good Food Project launched with key partners to reach our most vulnerable populations with targeted nutrition boxes or bags to help better manage health conditions and diet.

Garden Project partnered with Backyard Growers to work with families to plan, plant, and harvest gardens in twelve raised beds at The Open Door.

Cooking Matters provided a series of six-week Cooking Classes to clients and families.

SNAP (Food Stamps Outreach) handled more than 500 appointments.

Second Glance, The Thrift Store of The Open Door, sold 243,392 reduced-cost clothing, furniture and household items to the community, honored 321 referral requests from other agencies, recycled textiles, appliances and metals, hosted Community Enterprise and STEP program participants for job training, and raised revenues to support our hunger-relief programs.

Volunteer Service totaled 17,497 hours of time, talent and engagement.

jennifer goulart amero, www.90secondsandvelvet.blogspot.com

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Throughout the holiday season, many local businesses and schools are working with the Open Door to offer incentives for food donations to provide meals for thousands of Cape Ann Residents. Information on where to donate and how to host your own food drive at your business, school or community location is available here: How to Help - host a food drive

Contact information and service hours for the Open Door is listed below for readers willing to support their mission with food, clothing, furniture or monetary donations or folks looking for a hot meal or bag of groceries. The fact sheet illustrates the breadth of the Open Door's services in detail and will, hopefully, inspire readers to lend a hand in continuing their important work.

THE OPEN DOOR
E-mail: info@foodpantry.org
Street Address: 28 Rear Emerson Avenue Gloucester, MA 01930
Phone: 978-283-6776

One parting thought that will, hopefully, resonate throughout this season and all year long - Be grateful for what you have, and be generous to those who have not. A tiny fraction of what we will spend on wrapping paper and Wii games, mittens and holiday cards would clothe and feed many who might otherwise go without. In the spirit of giving, I ask you to give a little to those who truly need it. They are all right here in your neighborhood.

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