Realty company donates to Open Door

The Open Door, was given more than $4,500 by two companies last month.

Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester donated $500 to the service agency based in Gloucester, while J Barrett & Company, based in Beverly, gave $4,160.

Real estate estate agents at J Barrett & Co.’s seven offices raised $2,080 which the agency matched dollar-for-dollar. This year’s donation will provide for 140 meal baskets.

“We are very proud to support such an amazing organization that helps our neighbors on the North Shore,” said Jon Gray, president of J. Barrett, in a prepared statement. “The Open Door makes a significant impact on the issue of hunger that is, unfortunately, a reality today regardless of geographic location.”

“We appreciate the enthusiastic response our business has received over the past 12 years from clients throughout the North Shore,” Gray said. “This is an opportunity for us — the agents and the company — to give back and to show our support for the entire community.”

Julie LaFontaine, executive director of The Open Door, reports that annual requests for food assistance have more than doubled since 2008. She attributes some of the increase to an additional category of people being served. “Our reality is that we are serving people at the ‘poverty’ level and those in the ‘meal’ gap — that is, working people who are having trouble keeping food on the table,” she said in a prepared statement. “We have also seen a 17 percent increase in the number of times people access our services.”

“As our clients face the winter months with increased energy and cost of living expenses, we are grateful to J Barrett for stepping up to help fill the plates of North Shore families in need,” LaFontaine said,

Last year, The Open Door provided 1.65 million meals — almost 2 million pounds of food — to 8,000 people through its Mobile Market and Food Pantry, she added.

J Barrett & Co., which has offices in Beverly, Gloucester, Ipswich, Manchester, Marblehead and Peabody, is a long-time contributor to The Open Door. “The initial decision to support The Open Door came directly from our agents,” said Gray. “They recognized the significant accomplishments of the organization and wanted to help.”

The Open Door serves residents of Boxford, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Manchester, Rowley, Rockport, Topsfield, and Wenham. More information is available by emailing or calling 978-283-6776. Donations can be made online at or by mail to 28 Emerson Ave., Gloucester, MA 01930.

Tickets still available for Chamber gala

The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce will host its 98th Annual Celebration on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Tickets, $100 per person, are still available for the event from 6 to 11 p.m. at The Elks at Bass Rocks, 101 Atlantic Road in Gloucester.

Attendees will say hello to new president Tony Sapienza of the Blue Shutters Beachside Inn, and say good-bye to outgoing president Bruce Feldman of Gove & Feldman Insurance Agency Inc.

The evening will start off with cocktails and socializing, then on to a very short program followed by dinner and dancing to the tunes of DJ Scottie Mac.

The chamber needs to give the caterer a final headcount on Friday, Jan, 17. If you would like to attend, please call or email the chamber’s Kerry McKenna before then at 978-283-1601 or

Please respond before then if you are planning to attend.

Send us your business news

We want to publish news about your business — new contracts, new hires, promotions and events that are open to the public — on our Business pages. Send a brief notice with the basics. Please be clear about the person’s connection to Cape Ann. Include the name and phone number of someone we can call if we have questions. Send your news by email to; by fax to 978-282-4397; or by mail to: Business Briefcase, Gloucester Daily Times, 36 Whittemore St., Gloucester, MA 01930. For more information, call 978-675-2713.

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