Open Door annual awards breakfast

Fred and Valerie Johnson of Manchester by the Sea honored by the Open Door Food Pantry and receive the Helen Muise Award for outstanding volunteer service to benefit Open Door activities

Julie LaFontaine, executive director of the Open Door presented the awards and said, “Nothing would get done without the dedicated volunteers and staff members who are committed to nourishing our neighbors on Cape Ann. Volunteers like Fred and Valerie Johnson show up every day and get the job done. The Gloucester Food Pantry and Open Door is indebted to them for their service.”

The Johnsons are parishioners of Sacred Heart Church, Manchester by the Sea. Nearly two years ago Fred, a Fourth Degree knight and financial secretary of Masconomo Council 1232 Knights of Columbus Manchester by the Sea, proposed the Council coordinate an ongoing food drive at both Sacred Heart and St John the Evangelist, Essex to benefit the Open Door Food Pantry. As the drive’s catalyst, Fred Johnson has been the weekly collector of food at both churches headed for the Gloucester food pantry weigh-in. From its inception to the close of the third quarter, 2019, parishioners of Sacred Heart and Saint John have contributed more than 2, 224 lbs. of food. Beyond that food drive, Fred and Valerie Johnson are involved in numerous Open Door Food Pantry endeavors to improve the quality of life on Cape Ann.

On behalf of Council 1232 Knights of Columbus, Grand Knight Jeff Mastendino congratulated the Johnsons for the well deserved recognition of their dedication to community volunteer service.

Open Door Food Pantry once again expresses its thanks for the generosity of Sacred Heart- Saint John’s parishioners in their contribution of non-perishable food items for the food drive sponsored by the Knights of Columbus since the spring.

More than 591 pounds of food have been donated to date. That is most appreciated. Please keep giving and increase your donation if you are able. Summer is past; autumn is here. The harvest season is associated with plenty. For most this is a season of plenty. But for some of our neighbors on Cape Ann, this is a season of want. For those who are forced to stretch a dollar to its limits it is a time of hunger and need. Hunger does not take a holiday. The nutritional need for families is greater now than ever.

Remember to please help Open Door feed those who rely on the pantry for their “Daily Bread”. Fill our baskets to the brim with food desired by those who need it most. What kind of food? The kind of non-perishable items you would want–peanut butter, canned meats, fruits and vegetables, condiments, pasta, tuna, cereal, soups, cookies and crackers to name a few.

Because our giving is fast approaching the 1,000 pound threshold, our parishes will soon qualify for a cash reimbursement from the national headquarters of the Knights of Columbus as part of its Food for Families program to encourage future generosity. Thanks again for your giving spirit.

Please help pay it forward weekly. Drop food donations in the basket and your Knights will do the rest.

Thank you and God bless your caring.

Jeff Mastendino, Grand Knight