By Chuck Cady
As we celebrate Leelanau Christian Neighbors' 25 years of service, I am drawn to the meaning in our "Loaves and Fishes" logo.
In 1987 a food pantry was visualized by members of the Suttons Bay Congregational Church. Jack and Mary Reynolds Shannahan, together with Bob and Mary Chamberlain, fostered this idea. A bag of staple foodstuffs would feed a small family for a few days. The qualification would be that the recipients be hungry. The Congregational Church was immediately joined by Trinity Church in Northport and Immanuel Lutheran and Keswick Methodist Churches in Suttons Bay. Church participation grew quickly to 13 churches. The ecumenical efforts and the simple mission attracted enormous secular support as well. Other events followed:
The ways we serve the needs of our neighbors must also match up with ways to better serve our volunteers, and communicate more to the many donors that support our mission.
In addition to the natural beauty of our surroundings, quality of life comes from the diversity of our population and the economy that supports us — whether it be tourism, agriculture, or related endeavors that we and our neighbors participate in. Even volunteerism contributes to quality of life, and is a growing trend, just at the time it is needed. LCN remains dedicated to its simple mission of "providing food for the hungry and aiding those who have inadequate resources to respond to emergencies". Our volunteers will continue to find creative ways to respond to our neighbors' needs.
LCN is not standing still. While we envision a strengthening economy that would raise the economic well being of all Leelanau County residents, LCN will be needed many years into the future. Our support comes not only from the "time, talents, and treasures" of our many supporters, but also from the hardworking attitude of the neighbors that are such an important part of our experience in this special place.
About the author: Charles T. Cady is the current President of Leelanau Christian Neighbors. Dedicated to the simple mission of feeding hungry residents of Leelanau County and aiding those with emergency needs, "LCN" delivers it services through over 100 volunteers. Chuck Cady is a past president of the Traverse Area Economic Development Corporation.