The beginning of a new year: a good time to reflect

The volunteers of Good Neighbors Food Pantry wish all a Happy New Year as we look forward to continuing the work of feeding families in need. Thanks to generous support from our caring community, we are able to serve an average of 60 families per week. That represents an average of more than 200 people, including 72 children, who benefit from receiving food each week.

Through our work, we have seen first hand that not all of our community members have been able to benefit from the economic recovery of recent years. According to a 2019 United Way report, 37 percent of Charlevoix County households have trouble covering all the basic necessities, like rent and utilities, transportation, medical care, and food. These statistics include those who live at or below the poverty line – about 12 percent of our neighbors.

Who are the people we serve? They are our neighbors who struggle to make ends meet. They all have stories, and some share those stories with us. They include:

  • Mothers whose children require treatment for illnesses. In addition to medical expenses, they have to deal with time away from work to care for their children and take them to doctor appointments
  • Seniors who have become primary caretakers for their grandchildren, trying to make ends meet on an income that no longer meets the additional expenses
  • Those who know they just need a little help until they get back on their feet. Sometimes we hear “This will be my last time here because I just started my new job, and I’ll get my first paycheck next week!”

We are blessed with exceptional volunteers who greet everyone with smiles and warmth. It’s important to treat everyone who comes through our doors with respect and kindness. Our volunteers work hard to put food on the shelves and keep things running smoothly. We have a dedicated board of trustees who guide the pantry with integrity and compassion.

We are committed to provide healthy food for our neighbors in need.

  • We are blessed by our local farmers at the Boyne City Farmers Market, who donate large amounts of fresh produce, mostly during the summer.
  • We benefit from the bounty of our pantry garden at the Episcopal Church, and the St. Matthew’s garden.
  • The Manna Food Project, where we shop weekly, offers low-cost, surplus food to all the food pantries in our area for about 10% of retail cost. This allows us to really stretch our dollars (your dollars!).
  • Your generosity allows us to fill the gaps with healthy food year-round, even when snow covers the gardens and Manna’s shelves run low. Each and every week we provide fresh produce, eggs, cheese, yogurt, shelf-stable milk, protein options, and a variety of other packaged and canned goods.

Good Neighbors is an all-volunteer non-profit 501(c)(3) organization relying solely on donations. We receive no state or federal funds. We spend 88 percent of our income on food and supplies for pantry clients. We welcome you to come visit the pantry. We’re open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. – noon and 2-5:30 p.m.