GHS can help the hungry with Open Door food drive


Danielle Denman

Donation table in the library has room for more


It often slips high schoolers’ minds that their peers and neighbors are facing food insecurity. But during this Holiday season, The Open Door and members of GHS are working hard to change that.

Affording a holiday meal can be overwhelming for many low income families, especially when the holidays are around the corner, and parents feel the responsibility to get their children the perfect gift.This is a burden for families already struggling to make ends meet.

Food insecurity is a real problem Gloucester citizens are dealing with.  For one in six residents, it means not knowing where the next meal is coming from, due to financial instability. From meals at the homeless shelter, to The Open Door, and to food fundraisers created by students and teachers, Gloucester has many strategies for fighting this issue.

To minimize the problem during the Thanksgiving vacation, The Open Door held its annual Thanksgiving Basket Food Drive. They requested for donations of $30.00, which pays for one Thanksgiving Basket filled with all of the essentials for the holiday meal. Nearly 900 Gloucester residents signed up to receive a Thanksgiving basket this year.

GHS students and faculty set a goal this Thanksgiving to donate 30 baskets, but surpassed it. Some teachers accepted small donations from students, and those fundraising efforts provided a Thanksgiving meal for 51 local families.

“I wanted to give a shout out to the Gloucester High NHS Adviser Rayanne Menery-Sammataro,” said Executive Director of The Open Door Julie LaFontaine. “She came up with a bag of thirteen hundred dollars for baskets for the Thanksgiving drive.”

Interact Club has donated a total of 5 baskets for this fundraiser, dipping into their personal funds as a group.

“As a club, we’ve realized that the community does need help when it comes to food resources,,” said Interact Club Co-President Maria Kotob “So the board made an executive decision to donate five family baskets to The Open Door to aid in getting food to families who need it.”

With more holidays approaching, GHS continues to host the holiday food drive for The Open Door. Each year, the school comes together to help stock the shelves. It has become something that has grown very close to the faculty’s heart.

“Kids come to this building hungry,” said Menery-Sammataro. “It is very important that we keep those shelves full at The Open Door.”

Even though this drive happens every year, teachers still want to encourage students to give.

“We usually get a thousand items,” said Menery-Sammataro. “If we get a thousand items, I’d like to reward the students with a student vs. faculty basketball game.”

This drive is relying on the spirit in Gloucester High’s hearts. They’re not looking for people to clean out their cupboards, but for people to go out and buy things that a family in need will utilize.

Items such as peanut butter, healthy snacks, and juice are what can really make a difference for The Open Door, not a just a thousand jars of canned beans.

The drive will continue through December 15th, with a goal of 1000 food items to donate back to our community. Food items can be dropped on the table at the entrance of the GHS library.

There are other ways you can help The Open Door besides just donating money and food items.

“The Open Door is a great place to get your volunteer hours in,” said LaFontaine. “And it’s a good place to come in and know you’re going to help your neighbors.”

Food insecurity is a real problem in Gloucester. Bring food items to the GHS library anytime until December 15th

Get to donating!