Leelanau News and Events

Grassroots Food Relief Benefits Restaurants and Seniors

By Emily Tyra | April 9, 2020

A new grassroots food relief outreach has been started by members of Suttons Bay Congregational Church, spearheaded by residents Jim and Ann Muennich.

Says Jim, “We started last week and have arranged to pay Suttons Bay restaurants for prepacked lunches to distribute to individuals and families. The purpose of this project is to provide a revenue stream for local restaurants and to help people who are in need.”

The first week of the food relief outreach coincided with Spring Break, and volunteers distributed lunches purchased from V.I. Grill, Streetside Grille and 45th Parallel Café to 164 school-age children on days the students were not otherwise receiving food through their school program.

Now Jim says the food relief is transitioning to focus on seniors. “Our plan today is to deliver 110 meals to a list of seniors that was provided to us by Leelanau County Senior Services. We expect the list to grow and for us to do this at least two days a week if we can get the funds to continue. Even when COVID is winding down, seniors will be the very last ones who will be able to congregate.”

Josh Deters, owner of the VI Grill, is busy this morning packing to-go lunches with homemade creamy broccoli soup, ham and cheese sandwiches and fruit. Says Deters, “It’s helping us, but that’s not what’s important right now. They are getting good food out to the people who need it.” 45th Parallel Café is also preparing lunch for seniors today.

Suttons Bay Congregational Church — where the Muennichs and other volunteers are members — is receiving and holding the funds to be used for the outreach. Car deliveries are done safely in pairs, by members of the same household, with no contact at drop-off.

Says Jim, “I envision this expanding beyond the greater Suttons Bay area to all parts of the county. There seems to be no shortage of restaurants that can use the business and seniors who will appreciate the meals.”

Donate online at sbcongregational.org and choose SB Food Relief in the dropdown, or mail a check to Suttons Bay Congregational Church, PO Box 70, Suttons Bay, MI, 49682. Indicate SB Food Relief in the memo.


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