The Open Door, Cape Ann’s local food assistance program, never takes a vacation from our most tender population. The Open Door is tirelessly creating new programs to meet the ever-changing nutrition, health and cultural demands of the growing numbers of people living on the smallest of means. Summer is no exception. Here’s some news on what’s going on at the Open Door right now:
Who is the hardest to pin down for a balanced meal in the summer? Teens. The Open Door has two teen dinner sites, one at the Rockport Teen Center from 5 to 7 p.m. and one at the Gloucester Chill Zone from 6 to 8 p.m. Any teenager can drop in and receive a dinner which includes the four components required of federal nutrition guidelines:1 milk, 2 fruits and vegetables, 1 grain or bread, 1 meat or meat alternative.
Without the reliability of school schedules, younger children who might be missing meals because of their family’s economics are harder to reach in the summer, but The Open Door has nine sites around Cape Ann — from Riverdale Park to Arthaven — where children can receive healthy lunches made with locally grown vegetables (from The Open Door’s own community garden), whole wheat bread and low-fat milk. For information on the exact locations and who can participate call 978-283-6776 or go to The Open Door website.
Special dietary sensitivities are not neglected even in The Open Door’s food pantry, where a gluten-free shelf always stays stocked. As an aside, recently Cross Fit Cape Ann, the local branch of the national fitness program, prepared a “Paleo” dinner for an Open Door community meal. (Crossfit is one of 40 groups that regularly volunteer to prepare Open Door community meals.) The “Paleo” diet, part of Crossfit’s regimen, is heavy on whole foods, lean meats, vegetables, nuts, seeds and oils — long on protein, short on anything that spikes a glycemic index, including carbohydrates, dairy and even fruits. Brisket — humanely raised, pasture fed — was for dinner that night.