It's the beginning of giving season in what—let’s face it—will be an awfully weird season.
Holiday family gatherings, starting with Thanksgiving in a month’s time, are being eschewed in favor of safety, along with everything else. Giving, also, is changing to meet the uptick in need and the realities of the year.
Amid this, The Open Door last week launched its 2020 Holiday Meal Baskets and Virtual Food Drive appeal to help local families. The community nonprofit that is focused on alleviating food insecurity said this need has spiked dramatically during the pandemic, and support is needed now more than ever to ensure families have hunger-free holidays.
“The Open Door is only as good as the community that supports the mission,” said Julie LaFontaine, president, and CEO of The Open Door, which serves all of Cape Ann and much of the North Shore. “And, this community has shown up in a big way to help serve the increased needs here in the northeast corner of Essex County these past weeks and months—true heroes.”
Traditionally both campaigns kick off at the organization's Autumn Breakfast. This year, predictably, the event was canceled due to COVID-19. During this annual celebration, the organization typically recognizes its dedicated volunteers, community partners, and supporters. Despite putting the event on hold, The Open Door proudly announces that the 2020 Unsung Hero award goes to the community as a whole, for keeping its neighbors fed during this time of unprecedented need.
Record numbers of people throughout the local community on Cape Ann and the North Shore are struggling to put food on the table. This year it's never been more critical to come together to help feed our neighbors in need as families across Cape Ann continue to contend with the devastating fallout of the pandemic. The Open Door needs to raise $75,000 to distribute 2,500 Holiday Meal Baskets and hope that the greater community will help them reach this critical fundraising goal. Sponsors have provided $25,000 to match Holiday Meal Basket donations.
"As the community finds its way through the pandemic, we look for places of security and hope,” said LaFontaine. “By donating one Holiday Meal Basket or ten, you can help set the holiday table for people who need help in the midst of uncertainty and restore a sense of safety and family grounded in traditions.”
A $30 donation to The Open Door provides a Holiday Meal Basket for those that need a little help. Each basket comes with a turkey and all the trimmings such as green beans, corn, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, squash and apples. Help support one, three or more local families at foodpantry.org/donate
By participating in the Virtual Food Drive, you can virtually grocery shop for The Open Door from the safety of your home to fill their food pantries throughout the pandemic and beyond. Go to foodpantry.org/fillthecart to select the food items you want to donate virtually.
The Open Door encourages local businesses, clubs, church groups, families, friends and surrounding communities to start a Virtual Holiday Meal Drive fundraising team as a fun way to challenge each other to achieve a fundraising goal.
The Manchester Essex Rotary Club will host a localized food drive for The Open Door at Crosby’s on November 22. Since mid-March until the end of September, The Open Door has provided nearly 820,000 meals through 22,000 curbside distributions to nearly 5,000 households.
Facing the challenges of the pandemic this holiday season, three other Cape Ann major community nonprofits—Wellspring House, Action, Inc. and Pathways for Children—are working together this year on a common holiday fund. Typically, each of these organizations has its own holiday programs, but current restrictions prevent them from opening their doors.