Inn of the Good Shepherd Executive Director Myles Vanni. File photo. (Image courtesy of Jayne Primeau)Inn of the Good Shepherd Executive Director Myles Vanni. File photo. (Image courtesy of Jayne Primeau)

Inn feeling the pinch as holiday season approaches

As we enter the holiday season, the Inn of the Good Shepherd is seeing a jump in demand, coupled with a decline in donations.

Executive Director Myles Vanni said right now they're going through 55,000 pounds of food each month and that number is expected to rise.

He said pre-COVID they would spend about $5,000 on food monthly but, since April, that number has spiked to roughly $25,000.

"We really have seen a drop in donations through the spring, summer and early fall," said Vanni. "People are feeling the crunch. Some people that would donate, they're feeling the cost of inflation and they're just not maybe putting those few extra things into the donation barrel at the grocery store. And, our big events have all been down as well."

Vanni said, in a lot of cases, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) didn't fully help people who were laid off due to COVID.

"It didn't take long for people to get into debt, into their line of credit, or into their credit card to keep up with those bills," he said. "Now that people are back working, they're still having all of those bills to pay and, now this mountain of debt that they've accumulated, and it takes a lot longer to get out of it."

The Inn is mostly in need of things like cereal, peanut butter, jam, pasta, canned meat, and items for kids' lunches.

Meanwhile, Sarnia Police Service's annual Cops for Cans campaign will help stock the shelves at the Inn of the Good Shepherd for about two weeks.

The recent fundraiser generated a record of over 23,000 pounds of food.

The Inn's Thanksgiving food bags have been sent in the mail after the process was delayed due to supply chain issues.

Those can be dropped off at various grocery stores, the Dante Club, local fire halls, and the Inn on Confederation Street.

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