GLOUCESTER — Thousands of shoppers from Gloucester to Rowley chipped in at six grocery stores during the Open Door Thanksgiving Food Drive on Saturday.
Residents collectively donated 13,495 pounds of food, which will be used to help feed local families through the holidays and beyond.
Additional donations from private food drives held for the Open Door will be collected this coming week as well.
“Giving back at Thanksgiving is an annual tradition for many people, and the air crackled with good energy as shoppers pitched in to give what they could,” said Julie LaFontaine, Open Door’s president and CEO. “We have a resilient community that comes together when hard times are here.”
At the same time as the food was collected, the Open Door distributed hundreds of holiday baskets at a drive-through location on Emerson Avenue in Gloucester.
Each basket included a choice of a turkey or gift card, carrots, squash, apples, potatoes, cranberry sauce, a baking mix, a stuffing mix, and a gravy mix.
Based on pre-registrations, the Open Door plans to distribute more than 1,600 holiday baskets before Thanksgiving, a 20% increase in orders for Thanksgiving holiday baskets from November 2021.
Saying staff and volunteers “have been going above and beyond for weeks,” Open Door’s director of operations, Jen Perry, added, “An increase in holiday basket orders meant we needed to prepare more baskets with more turkeys and all the fixings, but thanks to our team, we’re prepared to meet that need so that everyone has a full plate on Thursday and good, healthy groceries for the future.”
The nonprofit will also distribute a second round of holiday baskets for the December holidays next month. More information is available at FoodPantry.org.
Participating grocery stores for the Thanksgiving food drive included Market Basket, Stop & Shop, and Shaw’s in Gloucester, Shaw’s in Ipswich; Crosby’s Marketplace in Manchester-by-the-Sea; and Market Basket in Rowley.