The Open Door honors locals, kicks of celebration of the new holiday season

GLOUCESTER — On Tuesday morning, the Beauport Hotel was bustling. The giving season had begun, and the Open Door was kicking it off with a breakfast of over 200 supporters.

The event was created to begin the nonprofit’s Holiday Basket and Thanksgiving Food Drive programs, as well as to honor four Open Door award-winners:

  • The recipient of the 2022 ‘Outstanding Community Partner’ was the Ipswich YMCA.
  • The recipient of the Charlotte Pope Award was Marc Nicastro of Gloucester.
  • The recipients of the Helen Muise Awards were Tony Gross of Gloucester and Grace Hamada of Gloucester.

“It is simple and practical acts of service or kindness right where we are that make the biggest difference,” said Julie LaFontaine, president and CEO of the non-profit.

“With rising energy costs and grocery bills climbing, people will need help to set the table for the holiday,” she added. “Your support is needed.”

In 2021, the Open Door helped stabilize the lives and health of 8,516 people from 4,176 households, LaFontaine said. Through this distribution of 1.83 million pounds of food, the Open Door helped to feed residents of over 10 local towns.

Included in last year’s program was the distribution of 2,267 holiday baskets to local residents for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays.

This year, the Open Door is hoping to make an even larger difference locally. They are encouraging donations of breakfast and brunch items such as cereal, coffee, tea, granola bars, instant oatmeal, pancake or waffle mix, syrup, juice, and more.

However, anything in glass jars will not be accepted.

The community-wide Thanksgiving Food Drive — held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving — will be hosted on November 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. this year.

Participating locations include the Rowley and Gloucester Market Baskets, the Ipswich and Gloucester Shaw’s, Stop & Shop in Gloucester, and Crosby’s Marketplace in Manchester-by-the-Sea.

To donate to the Open Door or to learn more, visit



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