A Place at the Table -- raising awareness about food insecurity and hunger in Leelanau County

A Place At the Table Showing to Raise Hunger Awareness
and Funds for Leelanau Christian Neighbors

A Place at the Table, a documentary on how food insecurity in the United States affects both adults and children, will be shown on May 4 at 1:00 p.m. at the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay.  The showing is part of an effort to raise awareness of local hunger issues and to raise funds for Leelanau Christian Neighbors, which operates two local food banks and Blessings in a Backpack.   Admission is by donation, with a suggested contribution of $10 in cash or an equivalent value in canned foods.

 “The directors of A Place at the Table have done an incredible job of putting a human face on the issue of food insecurity – literally not knowing where your next meal is coming from – by telling stories of three Americans who are struggling to find nutritious, affordable food on a daily basis,” says Mary Hallett Stanton, President of Leelanau Christian Neighbors.  “Through the camera’s eye we see how difficult it is for many hardworking people to afford the food they need.   It’s a nationwide problem and one that is very real right here in Leelanau County.”

 A Place at the Table tells the story of a single mother who grew up in poverty and her efforts to make life better for her two children.  It chronicles the stories of two children, one of whom depends on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school, and one who has health problems that are made more serious by the empty calorie foods that are all her hardworking mother can afford.

Woven into the movie are insights from experts in the field of hunger and nutrition as well as ordinary citizens and activists who are trying to end hunger.  

Hunger in Leelanau County 

After the movie, a panel of local experts will discuss the issue of hunger in Leelanau County where many people are food insecure despite Leelanau’s status as one of the wealthiest counties in Michigan.  The panelists include:

  • Sue Chapman, School Social Worker, Suttons Bay Public Schools 
  • Tony Ryan, Grand Traverse-Kalkaska-Leelanau DHS Community Resource Coordinator
  • Mary Hallett Stanton, President, Leelanau Christian Neighbors
  • Amanda Stowe, Home Visitor and Social Worker – Maternal Infant Health Program, Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department

Leelanau Christian Neighbors operates food pantries in Northport and Suttons Bay.   The pantries served 580 county residents and their families last year and LCN has seen substantial growth in the need for supplemental food in recent years.  LCN’s Blessings in a Backpack program serves over 180 children with supplemental food for the weekend during the school year.  In 2013 LCN distributed more than 19 tons of food through the pantries and Blessings in a Backpack.

The showing of A Place at the Table is made possible through generous sponsors who are paying the cost of renting and showing the film.   They include At Home and Martha’s Leelanau Table, Suttons Bay; Two Fish Gallery, Leland and Baabaazuzu, Lake Leelanau, MI. 

 Leelanau Christian Neighbors was established in 1987 to provide food for the hungry and aid individuals with emergency needs.   Since its formation 27 years ago, the organization has grown to support food pantries in Suttons Bay and Northport and created a Neighborhood Assistance Ministry to help with immediate, short-term financial emergencies.  In 2012 LCN began Blessings in a Backpack to provide for the weekend food needs of at-risk children who might otherwise go hungry.  This year LCN adopted the Baby Pantry which provides diapers, wipes, food and clothing to families with infants and toddlers who need assistance.  LCN’s offices, the Baby Pantry, Blessing in a Backpack, Neighborhood Assistance Ministry and Suttons Bay Food Pantry are located at 310 Elm Street, Suttons Bay, in the former middle school wing of Suttons Bay Public Schools.  The Northport Food Pantry is located at St. Gertrude’s Church, 701 N. Warren St. in Northport.