Pandemic impact on poverty focus of annual rally

Inn of the Good Shepherd Executive Director Myles Vanni October 16, 2020 Photo by Melanie Irwin

A single mother of three shared how physical and mental health issues, led to a battle with drugs and alcohol and a struggle to stay in school, during the annual Stand Up Against Poverty Rally Friday.

Katlyn Krywicki speaks at Stand Up Against Poverty Rally. October 16, 2020 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Katlyn Krywicki speaks at Stand Up Against Poverty Rally. October 16, 2020 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Katlyn Krywicki said she worked very hard to overcome her struggles after becoming pregnant with her first child.

“I was using every food bank and resource I could, but we still didn’t have enough money to cover everything,” said Krywicki. “I remember many times choosing food over laundry soap. I was resilient though with my limited funds.”

She credited Lambton’s Circles program for encouraging her to return to school, where she graduated with honours from a child and youth care program this past June.

“I’ve paid off all my debts including OSAP and I hope to get a job supporting my family, doing what I love, soon.”

Inn of the Good Shepherd Executive Director Myles Vanni said this year the pandemic’s impact has been far-reaching.

“From massive layoffs and job losses, to food shortages, to housing shortages, to social isolation, to schools and businesses shutting down,” said Vanni. “We’ve seen families coming into agencies for services and supports that have never reached out to us before.”

He said they’ve recorded a 40 per cent increase in the number of households accessing food, and providing shelter is currently a great concern.

“Prior to COVID, we started with 35 people in shelter. Now, we’ve reached as many as 180 people on any given night in shelter.”

He said individuals who were precariously housed, couch surfing, staying with family or friends, have been asked to leave.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s event hosted by the Poverty Reduction Network of Sarnia-Lambton, was invite only and held at the Inn’s John Street site to ensure health and safety guidelines for physical distancing were met.

The network is promoting five steps for recovery from poverty.

More information can be found at www.justrecoveryontario.ca.