The Mission of The Inn is to provide service with dignity to those in need of food, shelter and other essentials. This is an important statement. It guides our programs and how we serve people.
Perhaps best known for our food programs, The Inn operates a food bank, soup kitchen, 2 homeless shelters, a mobile market and so much more.
Why The Inn still exists … the role it plays
When The Inn was first started like so many other food banks, it was thought to be a temporary measure. It was the early ‘80’s, a severe recession was raging and thousands were losing their jobs. It was felt that, once the recession ended and the economy ‘got better’ we wouldn’t need the food bank and soup kitchen any more.
Yet, 40 years later, The Inn is still here and with a much greater range of programs. Programs built around helping provide relief to households struggling with the challenges of poverty … of simply not having enough to make ends meet … of getting by day to day but not being able to handle everyday life crises that arise – back to school expenses, birthdays, Christmas, healthy eating, illnesses, getting the car fixed to get to that part time job … and so on.
Changes in our society in these 40 years, have institutionalized and grown The Inn and its programs.
- Families are more spread out with children or parents moved to other parts of the country. That safety net of support isn’t readily available. When a family member struggles, family help isn’t just around the corner and they now rely on the community for support.
- Government cutbacks in assistance (a person on a disability pension receives the same as 20 years ago). Assistance rates barely cover rent leaving little or nothing for food, clothing or other essentials. This has made visits to the food bank or soup kitchen a necessity – a means for survival.
- Employment changes – the majority of Canadians now work in part-time, minimum wage jobs with no benefits. This leaves them living pay cheque to pay cheque with no certainty to the hours they will get and too often, having to choose between rent, food or health.
- Credit – buy now and pay later – is now the way of life. High School students can now get a credit card! Many folks live right to their means and don’t save so if they face job loss, they have major debt to manage. The lure of credit, without the knowledge of how to manage it has created a tremendous debt burden and of course, it takes much longer to get out of debt than it does to get into it.
The Inn of The Good Shepherd, through community support, continues to be here – every day, to help households through their everyday struggles. That back pack of school supplies, the hot meal, the fresh vegetables, the tax clinic, a warm coat all represent a caring community that is standing up against poverty. This represents dignity and hope!
Over the years …
Over the years, The Inn has had several ‘homes’ to be able to offer our programs out of. We started in the basement of St. John’s Anglican Church on Devine Street in 1981 but it wasn’t long before the services and need outgrew the space available.
In 1982, The Inn moved to Cromwell Street where the food bank, soup kitchen and clothing depot operated and a small housing program was started providing some rooms to house folks.
In 1985, St. John’s House for Boys was opened on Christina Street, providing accommodation for male teens who were homeless.
In 1988, the food bank & soup kitchen were relocated to Davis Street along with the administration offices. Our Genesis Program (clothing depot) moved to the basement and garage of St. John’s House for Boys on Queen Street and we opened Bethany House for Girls, also on Queen Street.
In 2002, as the need grew and space became tight, The Inn took possession of the former Devine Street United Church. The Church sold the property to The Inn for $1 and with renovations, enabled the food bank, soup kitchen, Genesis and outreach programs to locate together.
In 2003, we saw the opening of The Haven, Youth Shelter that consolidated St. John’s House and Bethany House into one program and location.
In 2010, after 3 years of capital campaign and construction, The Good Shepherd’s Lodge opened on Confederation Street with a 25 bed emergency shelter and 5 unit Transitional Housing Program.
For the vast majority of folks, they don’t want to come to us for assistance, but circumstances, often beyond their control, have led them to our doors for help. We all want to be able to support ourselves and our families, so it is a difficult step for many to have to ask for help – treating people with dignity and respect is even more important!
The Inn The Lodge The Haven
We help improve the quality of life in our community by offering programs & services designed to supplement and support those who need a helping hand.
- a food bank
- a soup kitchen
- rent / utility assistance
- The Haven – emergency shelter for youth
- The Good Shepherds’ Lodge – emergency shelter for adults/families & traditional housing
- Genesis – clothing & small household items
- Red Path
Your Caring Hands at Work
- sheltered 240 individuals, up from 35 pre-COVID
- delivered 6,000 emergency food boxes
- soup kitchen never missed a meal
- meals packaged as take-out
- food bank remained in person
Back to School
- 1,000 backpacks distributed in partnership with Temple Baptist Church.
- Thanks to our sponsors: Catherine Wilson Foundation, CF Industries, Golden K Kiwanis, Manley’s, Staples, and Suncor.
- 6,000 pounds of fresh veggies distributed throughout Sarnia-Lambton at 14 locations each week beginning in July through October.
Summer Snack Packs
- 340 children served for 11 weeks at 8 locations through Lambton-County.
- Filling the nutrition gap when schools are out and no student nutrition programs are running.
Thanks for Caring! A special thanks for the support to our major Christmas programs;
- Adopt-A-Family – sponsored 530 families and granted over 1,200 children’s wishes
- Inn Out of the Cold Family Dinner – sponsored by Imperial, The Dante Club, and McDonalds
- Singles Christmas at The Inn Dinner – sponsored by the County of Lambton Shared Services staff
- Children’s Christmas Party – sponsored by Seaway Kiwanis, Cestar Group, and Cabot
Board of Directors
|Vice Chair:||Sherri Crowley|
|Members At Large:||Chelsea Cooper|
|Pastor David Van Berkel|
|Executive Director:||Myles Vanni|