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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

The Open Door/Cape Ann Food Pantry, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Congregate Meals, Food, Food, Agriculture & Nutrition, Food Banks & Pantries, General Hospitals, Health

Mission: 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.

Results: During the past five years, The Open Door has intentionally moved away from only providing an emergency response to hunger and has instead implemented a prevention-based approach grounded in nutrition education, public health, and strong community development to tackle the food security issues within our community. Last year 5,438 people used our hunger-relief programs representing 1 in 7 of Gloucester’s population plus our neighbors in need from Rockport, Manchester, Ipswich and Essex. In the last three years we have seen a 30 percent increase in the number if requests for food assistance.

Target demographics: Clients are low and limited-income and range in age from children to seniors reflecting the diversity of the community including Caucasian, Portuguese, Albanian and Brazilian populations. We are organized to serve people residing in Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex and Ipswich

Programs: Our 2011Programs: 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. 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 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 on Cape Ann during a ten-week summer lunch program. (Expanded our “Deconstructing the Lunch Bag” program that offers lunch choices in a salad bar to four sites.) 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, Wellspring House, Action Shelter, Harvest Meals, the North Shore Hunger Network, and the Chill Zone youth program. 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. SNAP (Food Stamps Outreach) handled 500 appointments. Second Glance, the thrift store of The Open Door sold 243,392 low-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.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 3

hello this is Haley Pepin. I go to school at the O'maley Innervation Middle School and we are going volunteer work and I am wondering if i can donate food. That would be wonder full, thank you so much!
Haley Pepin, Kayla Kreseskie, and Gabriella Amaral

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Open Door doesn't just support it's local community it also reaches out to bordering communities that may not offer, or have the charitable services Open Door provides. We can go without many things, but food and nutrition for young kids is trying to learn is not one of those things. Open Door and it's programs for families in need is a must have and in my opinion one of the best non-profits around!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm an architect who has worked on the building addition and parking lot renovation which is under construction at The Open Door. I'm always impressed with the food pantry operations when I visit, and I have no doubt that the new space will be put to good use. The Open Door is a great nonprofit!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer at the Open Door with two different organizations. I am always amazed at the efficiency exhibited in the operation of both the kitchen and dining room. There is a varied, nutritious menu for each meal served, a wonderful turnout of guests, and always plenty of food, even take home containers for the next day. Ken runs a tight ship in the kitchen - everyone has to measure up to his sanitary expectations. There is no waste of anything and the volunteers are frequently trying out new menus. I highly recommend the Open Door for one of your awards - it will be money well spent.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am associated with a small food pantry in a neighboring town. The Open Door has been working with us to expand our resources to help our clients. They are easy to work with and have been a wonderful partner in our development of a new online system of tracking clients! They also have helped us connect to the Greater Food Bank in Boston. We have cut our expenses in half!! We could not have done this with out their time and effort. The Open Door has brought their Mobile Market to our pantry (we have only non perishables to offer). Our clients are over-joyed to have fresh produce each week. The Open Door people have gone out of their way to help us and we cannot thank them enough!

Donor

Rating: 5

Being out in front is the hallmark of the Open Door. New Programs, new space, new outreach....and thinking way beyond a "meal for the poor". They are a vital part of the community and have removed the stigma of the "soup kitchen". We look to them for guidance for healthy eating. And their support for the same in our local schools is outstanding.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Open Door is a respected organization in the region, having strong leadership and sustainability. We at the Merrimack Valley Food Bank have modeled one of our programs after their Mobile Market, and it still thrives after 6 years! Most importantly, the families and individuals in their service area receive nutritious, healthy food, including education and resource outreach. We are honored to have partnered with The Open Door.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand how Open Door Food Pantry has helped several members of our community. From their pantry to their dinners served they are amazing!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a donor who has done due diligence. I am also on the Essex County Community Foundation board and know that that organization has worked with and funded Open Door and gives kudos to the managment team for both its fine business practices as well as creativity to bring in useful programming.

Donor

Rating: 5

The Open Door has provided the food basics to many of us living here in Gloucester. The combination of the Great Recession and the dying fishing industry has been a terrible hardship for many Gloucesterians and the Open Door has given critical support for those who endure these hardships. The Open Door is an essential NPO for Cape Ann and Gloucester.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization which feeds many families on Cape Ann. They also sponsor a resale shop, Second Glance. That place is amazing! You can donate clothes, furniture, children's supplies, housewares, or you can buy things donated by others at very reasonable prices. The best part is that people in need can furnish a whole apartment for free. Just another gem in Gloucester!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Open Door has the greatest respect among members of our community - one visit to their pantry reveals why. I had the opportunity to drop off provisions left over from an event and discovered a great "organization" that was all about serving people in need by offering them healthy meals. Besides the dedicated and caring staff, I was impressed with the raised vegetable gardens outside - can't get much healthier than that! Recently I volunteered at a fundraiser for the Open Door that was sponsored by local artist Betty Lou Schlemm. It was so exciting and humbling to play a small role in this effort while finally volunteering for such a worthy cause. It was especially meaningful to me because every year I look forward to the Empty Bowl Fundraiser and to meeting the staff and volunteers at the Open Door who make this event happen. They are such caring and selfless people. I always walk away with a great sense of gratitude and an awareness that we all need each other.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a top notch organization helping to meet the nutritional needs of citizens of Cape Ann and surrounding areas, with great programming and a friendly, helpful staff.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Open Door and their team of staff and volunteers under the guidnace of Executive Director Julie Lafontaine are leaders in addressing the challenges faced by vulnerable and underserved populations across Cape Ann. Innovative, compassionate, dedicated, collaborater and diverese are all words that describe The Open Door. Addison Gilbert Hospital is a proud partner and sponsor of The Open Door, working together to make life changing impact on the communities we serve.

Review from Guidestar