Leelanau News and Events

Leelanau Christian Neighbors Nonprofit Heads Into Winter Ready To Hire

By Emily Tyra | Oct. 7, 2020

The nonprofit Leelanau Christian Neighbors (LCN) which provides a food pantry, baby pantry, "Blessings in a Backpack," and emergency financial assistance for Leelanau County residents, has seen a swell in donations to Samaritans’ Closet, its Lake Leelanau resale shop that accepts clothes, furniture and housewares from the community and distributes the profits to those in need in the county.

LCN Executive Director Mary Stanton tells the Leelanau Ticker due to the community's generous outpouring of donations, the organization is now seeking a part-time assistant to help administer the Samaritans’ Closet program. “We would like the new hire to work with school and civic groups and individuals to help sort and display during and outside of our business hours.”

Stanton says she hopes the position is filled by October 27. A complete job description and application is on LCN’s website.

She adds that LCN is heading into winter committed to meeting the needs of neighbors across the county who might otherwise fall through the cracks.

“We saw a drop in numbers of people we serve the beginning of the pandemic but are now seeing numbers getting back to normal,” she says. “Not only are we seeing the labor force needing assistance but also our senior population. Everything is more expensive, and they are feeling it.”

She also anticipates more requests for financial assistance due to the high cost of utilities. Stanton says "neighbors come to NAM for short-term emergency assistance when financial resources are lacking."

LCN’s Neighborhood Assistance Ministry (NAM) is facilitated by eight retired professionals and provides third party payments for emergency financial aid with rent, utility bills, transportation costs, and medical services. Typically, financial shortage is due to extended layoff, reduction of work hours, lengthy illness, living at or below the poverty level, and dysfunctional family issues.

Both the LCN food pantry and Blessings in a Backpack — a program where volunteers fill backpacks with food for elementary, middle school and high school students who are at risk of going hungry over the weekend — are also accepting donations. While 90 percent of the food distributed at LCN’s pantry is either purchased from Feeding America and local grocery stores or donated by Food Rescue, which picks up soon to be expired food from restaurants and grocery stores, the remainder comes from private donations.

A most urgent need? A post on Leelanau Christian Neighbors' Facebook page this week notes, “Spices. We all know how expensive they can be but also how important they are in our day to day cooking.” Salt, pepper, garlic, garlic salt, chili powder, cumin and cinnamon are at the top of the pantry's wish list.

Drop-off for the LCN food pantry is on Mondays between 8:45am and 6pm.

The food pantry is open to anyone in need on Mondays from 2pm to 6pm at 7322 East Duck Lake Road (M-204) in Lake Leelanau.

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