Nancy is a client of The Inn of the Good Shepherd in Sarnia Link opens a new window. Her story originally appeared in Hunger Report 2017 Link opens a new window.

My name is Nancy, and this is my story. I am a single mother of two girls, living in Sarnia. I wasn’t always single – I had been married to Stewart. Stewart was employed full time at a local industry, working shifts, and was progressing up the management ladder. I was not working, as I was having difficulty finding a job.

Stewart and I separated due to irreconcilable differences. It wasn’t an amicable separation. We were both angry and hurt. Emotions ran high, and the children were witness to many arguments, name calling, and loud yelling. The girls started withdrawing from friends and school grades were declining.

I was doing everything I could to keep balance in the family, trying to curb my emotions, and help my children with school and their social activities. Money became an issue. Stewart had moved out of our rental unit, and was not providing much financial support. Our separation was in the hands of the lawyers. I was not working still.

I started failing to pay my rent payments. Should I move? The children didn’t want to leave their school and friends. I tried discussing options with my landlord, but he wanted the full rent payment to avoid eviction. I was scared, and had no one to turn to. My parents lived in Calgary, and struggled with their own financial responsibilities as pensioners.

I started using the local food bank, hoping to save money to help with my rent payments. The food bank allowed me access every 21 days. It helped, but other crises started occurring.

My car now needed repairs. My children attended after-school programs that required me to drive them to various locations in the city. I needed financial assistance until I could secure a job and my divorce finalized, so my husband would pay support payments.

I called and made an appointment at The Inn of The Good Shepherd to explain my situation and determine any help available. I had been given an eviction notice from the landlord. Life was spiraling out of control.

I met with the Housing Assistance worker, and they created a budget for me to follow. The Inn was able to assist me with a portion of my overdue rent payment. The Housing worker contacted my landlord and explained the assistance and budget now in place, to avoid eviction. The landlord accepted the plans and I will remain in my home. I will continue to use The Inn’s food bank. I also know that the soup kitchen will provide me and my girls with a hot meal when needed.

I am an example of everyday life going sideways. Life can take twists and turns and create obstacles in which we must reach out for help. I am thankful for the assistance provided to me.