Programs & Services

Economic Impact

Let the Numbers Tell the Story

Due to the economy, we are seeing many first time users at The Inn and a minimum 25% increase in need for all of our programs.

  • Food Bank - an extra 300 people and 10,000 lbs. of food each month for a total of 45,000 lbs. of food to feed 1,800 people (700 of them children).
  • Soup Kitchen - we are now serving an average of over 110 meals a day (up from 80).
  • Housing Assistance – 50 different households assisted monthly
  • Genesis – 250 clients assisted a month
  • Haven – 12 youth sheltered every month
  • Lodge – on average 16 people stay in shelter a night
  • Income Taxes – 1900 returns completed
  • Backpacks – 500 children provided with school supplies
  • Mobile Market – 4000 lbs. of fresh veggies distributed thru 11 locations each week - July – October  

Core Programs

Food Bank:

Funded by donations from the Community, the Food Bank provides food packages full of staples and fresh foods.  Access to the food bank is determined through an intake process.  In order to obtain your Food Bank card you must bring with you proof of income and expense along with a piece of ID for each member of the family.  The food bank is run on a grocery store model where clients are given points and spend those points to select the items they need. This “choice” system provides the client with a more dignified selection so they can receive items they want, need and can utitlize. This results in less waste. The Point system also helps teach that important skill of budgeting to make their points stretch further. An average month sees some 1800 people with the food bank – 700 of which are children. We have two seasonal Food Drives; Easter and Thanksgiving along with our annual CANstruction event & Cyclone Aid. Please give when you can-a can or two for the families in need. Agriculture programs help provide fresh essentials such as vegetables, milk, eggs, and meat.

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Soup Kitchen:

Dozens of teams, from local churches, service clubs, schools, businesses, and industries come together to prepare and serve meals to those in our community that are in need.  In fact, some soup kitchen teams have been assisting in the program since its very beginning. Individuals utilizing the soup kitchen program have various challenges including financial, mental health and addictions. Clients are able to be fed in our brightly lit and roomy dining hall enjoying “social” nourishment – a hot meal and interaction with others. For many the soup kitchen will provide their only hot meal that day… for too many, their only meal.

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Rent & Utility Assistance:

We can assist with rent and utilities.  To determine eligibility for rent or utilities arrears you will be required to bring the following documentation with you to your appointment: statement of ALL sources of income, EI, child support, OSAP, Ontario Works rent receipt or mortgage statement most recent utilities bills current bank statement.  

We can offer Emergency food packages to help offset monthly expenses. 

We also connect clients with a wide range of community resources. Community Outreach Workers can assist by providing referrals to a wide range of community resources.  Please call 344-1746 for an appointment and our intake worker will determine eligibility.

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The Haven:

444 & 442 Kathleen Ave
Sarnia, ON

The Haven provides short-term co-ed shelter for young adults between the ages of 16 to 21. This program is funded by the Ministry of Children & Youth Services in conjunction with the County of Lambton. We can house up to 9 residents in a 30-60 day program. Our goal is to assist our residents in securing a source of income and find a stable living arrangement. The Haven is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and an intake can be done at any time of the day or night. Referrals can be made by other agencies, by phone, or a person coming to the building. Staff of The Haven will assist in advocating for a client and/or referring to other agencies and programs. The Haven consists of two adjoining townhouse units owned by the County of Lambton - 

 (442 & 444 Kathleen Avenue).

We can accommodate up to 4 female residents and 5 males.  These gender separated units have their own bathrooms, kitchen and common room.  All residents have access to laundry facilities and a resident phone.

The Program Criteria: All residents who enter into The Haven shelter program must satisfy the following admission criteria: 

  • willing to participate in application for Ontario Works (Social Assistance) and comply with all O.W. regulations and expectations.
  • must follow house rules and routines
  • residents must be enrolled in either an O.W. work placement, a full-time supervised education program; or secure paid employment.
  • possession or use of drugs/alcohol or any acts of aggressive behavior, will result in immediate discharge.  The program provides a safe and secure living environment at all times.
  • must have the genuine desire to improve his/her current situation.

The Haven and units are drug and alcohol free; there is zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol on the premises.

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The Good Shepherds Lodge:

950 Confederation Street
Sarnia, ON

Emergency Shelter:

The Good Shepherd’s Lodge provides emergency shelter to those experiencing a period of homeless in Lambton County. Emergency Shelter is provided to single men, women, and families. “The Lodge” has 25 emergency shelter beds, and 2 private family rooms. Clients of “The Lodge” are provided with 2 hot meals a day, computer access, free laundry facilities, showers, private secured locker area, a free client phone, and assistance searching for housing.

The Good Shepherd’s Lodge is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and an intake can be done at any time of the day or night. Referrals can be made by other agencies, by phone, or a person coming to the building. Staff of The Good Shepherd’s Lodge will assist in advocating for a client and/or referring to other agencies and programs.

Transitional Housing Program

Transitional Housing units may be available for rent to those in the community who are experiencing a period of transition.  Each unit contains a private bedroom, washroom, shower room, kitchen/dining area and living area. There are 5 housing units designated male or female. Transitional Housing units are fully furnished, phone/cable/internet are the responsibility of the residents. Residents of the transitional housing program have access to laundry facilities.

The Transitional Housing program is designed to assist the “hard to house” be successful in learning skills that will help them secure and maintain permanent housing.  The program is altered to fit each individual’s specific need. Residents and The Transitional Support Worker will set goals and meet regularly to assess the progress and modify if needed. Residents will be required to attend programing aimed at budgeting, cooking, stress management.  Residents of the Transitional Housing Program are responsible for the upkeep of the Transitional Housing area.

To apply for transitional housing call 519-344-1679, the Program Coordinator, or Transitional Support Worker will be able to assist you.

The Good Shepherd’s Lodge Transitional Housing Program and units are drug and alcohol free; there is zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol on the premises.

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Genesis is The Inn’s free clothing and household items store. The store is open every Tuesday 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Clients can access Genesis every three weeks to select item they may need. As a part of The Inn’s holistic approach to helping folks, by providing clothing or small household items at no cost; it enables the client to use their limited financial resource towards their shelter or food. The Genesis program also helps provide items for people getting started into their own housing.  It helps them equip their place with many essentials. The Genesis program relies on the generosity of the community in donating gently used items. While The Inn doesn’t have the capacity to handle and store large furniture items on a regular basis, we may pre-arrange larger items if we have a client in need for specific items.

Items most needed:

  • Clothing
  • Linens and bedding
  • Small kitchen appliances
  • Dishes and Cutlery

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Red Path:

The Red Path Program is an Aboriginal specific model that was first developed by Trent University and delivered within Federal Penitentiaries. It has two components – Addictions Treatment and Living without Violence. The Red Path model blends clinical and cultural approaches addressing emotional and social health, offering techniques to cultivate a healthy mind, body and spirit. It is an Aboriginal holistic approach to healing and self-wellness. The core element of the intervention is to skillfully deliver tools in a group setting to provide participants with knowledge and awareness that all events and behaviors are interconnected with the past, present and future. The key concepts, used to facilitate action and change identification, communication, reflection and the experience of emotions. Participants learn emotional awareness and how emotions change through life’s patterns, self-worth and capabilities, communicating ones needs and opinions, how to pursue goals despite setbacks and obstacles, coping with daily stressors and social problem solving strategies. Topics discussed include violence and abuse, blaming, self-esteem, love and respect, community, morals and values, relationships, empathy & trust and more. With tools learned in Red Path participants go below the surface to understand buried emotions, get to the root of their problems and develop a resiliency to any adverse environmental conditions. This reflective resiliency will continue to develop and flourish even after the program is completed.   

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Support Programs

Income Tax Clinics:

The Inn in partnership with Revenue Canada is able to complete taxes for our clients. Many folks living in poverty do not have the funds to get their taxes done, which in turn causes them to miss out on basic benefits and rebates such as the child tax benefits. This year we have completed 1900 tax returns.

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Mobile Market:

The Mobile Market Garden provides a chance for food bank clients to receive fresh garden produce on a more frequent basis than their regular food bank visit (once every 3 weeks). The Inn’s truck sets up each week at 11 different location throughout Sarnia and Lambton County where clients and residents can have access to a variety of fresh produce. The produce is provided from local gardens or through a donation program with local farmers and greenhouse growers. A 2009 Study by TD Bank, showed that poverty costs each Ontario household an additional 2600 in taxes. It drew a direct link to increased healthcare costs. People living in poverty don’t eat as well – contributing to a lower standard of health. The Mobile Market Garden helps address this issue by providing free healthy produce on a weekly basis during the growing and harvest seasons. The Typical mobile market will have a variety of up to 12 different vegetables including potatoes, corn, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, tomatoes, squash, peppers, cucumbers, carrots and more. Information Sheets provide tips for freezing the vegetables to make them last through the winter!

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Back to School:

Over 500 kits are prepared to provide kids for their first day back to school. The kits are specific to grades and filled with supplies they need for their school work including items such as pens, markers, rulers, calculators, math sets, binders, scissors and much more. These items are placed in a new backpack along with a few snacks and drink boxes.  
Donations of school supplies can be dropped off at The Inn of The Good Shepherd.

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Christmas Programs:

For our clients the holidays can bring on added stress. The Inn has many different programs to help combat the stress the holidays bring.  In a way The Inn is the family for too many of our clients.

Adopt – a – family: locals businesses, families, churches, service clubs and individuals are paired with a family that cannot afford to provide their children with Christmas presents. The children provide a “wish list” for Santa and receive their gifts Christmas morning!   

Singles Dinner: Our Dining room is host to 2 dinners – served by County of Lambton Shared Services staff and by Trinity Anglican Church. Clients chose one for a festive night out.

Inn out of The Cold Family Dinner: Hosted each year by the Dante Club it’s a chance for families to enjoy a full turkey meal in a wonderful Christmas Setting. Of chores Santa is a welcome visitor that evening.

Children’s Christmas Party: The Inn hosts a children’s Christmas party each year, roughly 300 children attend. Each child leaves the party receiving a photo with Santa, a book, stocking, stuffed animal, a gift as well as treats!  

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Reduced Fare Program:

Transportation and accessibility are major challenges to folks living in poverty. The inability to get out and into the community becomes a factor in keeping them in poverty:

  • They can’t get to grocery stores where healthier food is available at better prices so they often end up “grocery shopping” at local corner store where healthier alternatives aren’t available and food is much more expensive.
  •  They can’t get their children to community activities which help increase their socialization
  • Medical appointments are missed or avoided because of the difficulty and cost of getting there.

In partnership with The City of Sarnia, The Inn offers a reduced fare program where we sell passes or tickets at a reduce cost.

These saving, as small as it may seem, makes the difference for many clients between using transit or not. This program has become a win-win partnership where transit has seen an increase in riders and revenues and clients now have the means of accessing a greater range of services.

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Client BBQ:

Many of The Inn’s clients don’t get to experience that wonderful Canadian tradition of a BBQ. Each July The Inn hosts a BBQ for our clients during the regular soup kitchen hours. Clients can enjoy live music, hamburgers, hot dogs, cold beverages, chips as well as prizes!

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Children’s Birthday Club:

No child should have to go without a gift on their birthday. Parents can sign up at the food bank and they will receive a toy and book in a gift bag for their child along with a cake mix and icing. Every child deserves to feel special on their birthday!

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Winter Coat Night:

Each fall, The Inn holds a winter coat night, giving the clients opportunity to receive winter coats, boots, hats and gloves as available. Some 500 individuals will receive winter wear on this night.

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