Ipswich students raise over $18,000 for pantry | News

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IPSWICH — More than 300 Ipswich Middle School students walked 10 miles from the school to Great Neck and back on Friday and raised more than $18,000 for the Ipswich Community Food Pantry.

The pantry, which is located at the Southern Heights Ipswich Housing Authority site, is a program of The Open Door, which serves 10 communities on Cape Ann and the North Shore.

Friday’s event marked the return of the school’s annual Walk for Hunger for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, students try to raise $10,000 with the walk.

According to a press release on the event, seventh-grader Andrew Young raised more than $1,100.

“I’ve never really done anything like it before,” Young said. I didn’t expect it to be the highest amount raised. It just felt good knowing I was helping my community.”

“Seeing young people become so engaged in hunger-relief and the way the Ipswich community bands together to support this event is exactly the neighbors-helping-neighbors attitude that makes what The Open Door does possible,” said President and CEO Julie LaFontaine. “Thank you to the amazing young people who took our mission to heart and raised money to help others, and to all the staff, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and community members who helped make this event possible.”

The Open Door says its Ipswich site distributed 286,000 pounds of food to 813 people last year. In total, the organization distributed 1.83 million pounds of food that helped stabilize the lives and health of 8,516 people from 4,176 households.

The Gloucester-based nonprofit took over management of the Ipswich Community Food Pantry in 2016.

“This is yet another example of the caring and socially conscious students that we have in our schools. I’m so incredibly proud of the middle school students and staff for all that they do for our community,” said Superintendent Brian Blake. “Seeing them on the walk route (Friday) having fun, chatting with friends, and knowing the good they were doing for The Open Door was inspiring.”

School principal Kathy McMahon likewise said she was proud of the students for answering the call to action and raising awareness of food insecurity in town.

“The IMS Walk for Hunger is a long-standing tradition of our school, showing students that they can make a difference and inspire change,” she said.

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