Local food bank could feel pressure from Sarnia funding cuts


Food bank use is likely to rise across Lambton County because of funding problems at Sarnia’s Inn of the Good Shepherd according a local agency.

The Inn says in April, the province will cut about $180,000 from the agencies funding. That could mean up to 250 families would not receive help for rent and utilities, life skills programs at the local shelter may have to be cut and even some food programs could be reduced.

Brian McManaman of the Petrolia Food Bank and the local St. Vincent de Paul Society says the changes will have an impact in the rural areas as well, particularly with the decrease in funding available for rent and utilities.

Currently, anyone looking for financial help to pay a hydro bill is directed first to The Inn and then the other agencies, such as St. Vincent De Paul, are asked to help. If The Inn can’t contribute funds the way it once did, McManaman says the money will have to come from somewhere else.

“All of the other agencies will have pressure put on them for resources which are low to begin with,” says McManaman.

“We’re going to find local churches are going to be called more often for help,” he adds. “The churches are going to be inundated with calls for help.”

And he says the end result will likely be more food bank clients since food is available and money for utilities is not.

“They (the people looking for help paying utilities bills) will become clients of the food bank,” he says. “The money they would pay for food can then go to the utilities. …The food bank will have more people using them because people will have to make a choice.”

– Heather Wright