Open door closes summer hunger gap for children | news | Wender Mind Kids

 Open door closes summer hunger gap for children |  news

Now that the school year is coming to an end, many families in Cape Ann must bear the cost of their children’s breakfasts and lunches, which they receive free at school.

The Open Door launched its Summer Meals for Kids program Wednesday, which is filling the summer recess gap for 21st-year Cape Ann students.

“Summer Meals for Kids is the bridge local families rely on to feed their children from June through August, especially in the face of inflation, high food costs and ongoing economic hardship,” said President and CEO Julie LaFontaine in a prepared Explanation. “With nutritious, fresh meals, local children can just be kids, stay healthy and return to school ready to learn.”

In 2021, The Open Door’s Summer Meals for Kids program distributed approximately 30,300 meals to local children.

Pandemic-era federal aid that provided free school meals to all public school students — regardless of family income — is ending, raising fears about the impact in the coming school year for families already grappling with soaring food and fuel costs . The Keep Kids Fed Act, passed in Congress on Thursday and signed into law by President Joe Biden over the weekend, aims to allow summer meal distribution for college students to remain widespread. It also gives schools higher reimbursement for meals while giving them some flexibility to help them deal with rising food prices and supply chain issues.

The Open Door is a sponsor of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federal program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Keep Kids Fed Act is relaxing regulations restricting take-out meals to give The Open Door and other sponsors flexibility to give more kids access to the food they need.

According to Project Bread, food insecurity has been increasing for households with children in Massachusetts since April 2021. In early March, the US Census Household Pulse Survey estimated that 21% of households with children in Massachusetts were food insecure.

“Summer Meals is a win-win for communities, parents and children,” said The Open Door operations manager Jen Perry, who has led the program for 17 years. “These meals not only connect children to good food, but also allow children to focus and play in places that provide educational enrichment, sports, games, and arts and crafts activities.”

USDA SFSP requires a non-discrimination statement that “Meals will be provided free of charge to all children and will be equal for all children regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability, and there will be no discrimination in the course of meal service .”

Meals will be provided on a first come, first served basis at these locations and times:


Walk-up locations operational through August 26:

The open door28 Emerson Ave., Serves meals Monday through Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m

Riverdale Park Meals are served Monday through Friday from noon to 12:45 p.m. at 69 Veterans Way.

Willowood Gardens 40 Willowood Road offers meals Monday to Friday from noon to 12:45pm.

Village overlooking the pond Meals are available at 23 Lepage Lane Monday to Friday from 11:30am to 12:00pm.

Enrolled Locations:

Summer learning in the western community Meals will be available at 10 Concord St. for enrolled attendees Monday through Thursday through July 28 at noon.

O’Maley Academy at 32 Cherry St. Meals will be available at this location for enrolled attendees from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday through August 4th.

Related Gardens In the Dr. 5 Osman Babson Road Meals are available for enrolled attendees from 9:00am to 10:00am and 11:30am to 12:00pm Monday to noon

Friday, through August 26th.

Camp Spindrift at 27 Atlantic St. will provide meals for attendees Monday through Friday through August 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Gloucester High School Meals for enrolled attendees will be available Monday through Thursday through August 4th at 32 Leslie O. Johnson Road.


Pantry of the Ipswich Community at 00 Southern Heights is a walk-in location serving meals on Wednesdays and Thursdays through August 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Winthrop Elementary School at 65 Central St. will provide meals for registered attendees Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Summer Meals for Kids will be held at this location from July 5th to August 4th.

The Open Door Summer Meals for Kids program strives to accommodate all allergies and special diets. To learn more about the program or to inform employees about dietary needs, please call 978-283-6776 or email

The Open Door Sumer Meals for Kids schedule will be updated throughout the summer at

Material from The Open Door was used in this report.