The Open Door is readying for the holidays.

The local non-profit dedicated to alleviating food insecurity on Cape Ann and the North Shore has launched its 2020 Holiday Meal Baskets and Virtual Food Drive to help local families.

The Open Door needs to raise $75,000 to distribute 2,500 Holiday Meal Baskets and is looking to the greater community to help it reach this fundraising goal.

“As the community finds its way through the pandemic, we look for places of security and hope,” said Julie LaFontaine, president and CEO of The Open Door. “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 will fill a basket for a family with a turkey and trimmings, such as green beans, corn, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, squash and apples. Donations may be made at foodpantry.org/donate.

Sponsors have provided $25,000 to match Holiday Meal Basket donations.

Residents also may participate in The Open Door’s Virtual Food Drive by visiting foodpantry.org/fillthecart and selecting food items to donate virtually.

In the past, both the Holiday Meal Basket and Food Drive campaigns kicked off at The Open Door’s autumn breakfast, when the nonprofit would name its Unsung Hero for the year. Despite this event being put on hold because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the non-profit has award its 2020 Unsung Hero honor to the community for “keeping its neighbors fed during this time of unprecedented need,” a release read.

The non-profit operates two food pantries, at its Gloucester headquarters at 28 Emerson Ave. and in Ipswich at 00 Southern Heights, in addition to other programs. The pantries serve families in Gloucester, Rockport, Essex, Manchester, Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham, Rowley, Boxford and Topsfield.

“The Open Door is only as good as the community that supports the mission,” said LaFontaine. “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”

Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.

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