The Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network (CPAN) announced its 360° Project on March 16, followed by Mackay Manor’s announcement of its own 50 Free Women Project. Both are aimed at reducing poverty in the area. From left are Pembroke Mayor Mike LeMay, Renfrew Mayor Don Eady, Mackay Manor Executive Director Tom Carroll, CPAN Executive Director Lyn Smith, Renfrew County Warden Jennifer Murphy, Arnprior Reeve Walter Stack, and Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski. (Photo by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

Provincial grants support programs for local families living in poverty

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday April 12, 2018

The Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network (CPAN) unveiled its 360° Project, which has the goal of addressing poverty in single parent families in Arnprior, Pembroke, and Renfrew.

It is difficult to raise a child in the best of circumstance, said CPAN Executive Director Lyn Smith, but it is made even more difficult when there is a lack of support and only one income.

“It is difficult and that is why we started the 360° Project,” said Smith, noting one in five children in Renfrew County live in poverty, and 35 per cent of them are living in a single parent household. “When people live in poverty, we all lose,” she added.

To help run the pilot project, CPAN has received a $380,100 grant from the Government of Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund (LPRF), administered by its agency, the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

CPAN will work with partner organizations to ensure that services are available and tailored towards specific needs, whether that is transportation to an appointment, skills building or post-secondary education, mental health help or just a fun evening of networking and dining together.

It will approach issues faced by single-parent families on social assistance in a more comprehensive manner, addressing the overall well-being of the family. Each will meet with staff so that their needs are better understood and they will then be connected to resources.

Ryerson University will evaluate the pilot project’s effectiveness and data will also be collected and used to support future poverty reduction programs across the province. “It will help people to help themselves,” said Smith. “It isn’t a handout, but a hand up.”

The initial program will last for three years and grow every year with the goal of helping 180 families.

As part of the March 16 announcement, the Mackay Manor made one of its own. It highlighted its 50 Free Women Project.

Supported by a $364,700 grant from the LPRF, the program aims at helping single parents break away from the cycle of tobacco addiction. “We are going to treat single parents who smoke and try to raise them from poverty,” said Mackay House Executive Director Tom Carroll. “Most of them spend close to 30 percent of their income on tobacco and we are trying to get them healing from that.”

It is estimated that people addicted to tobacco spend about $4,000 a year on the habit.

The Mackay Manor is located out of Renfrew and has the primary focus of helping people break free of drug, alcohol and now tobacco addiction.

The 360° Project and its new funding will not impact CPAN’s current programs, nor will it decrease its needs for items, volunteers, and donation. The funding is completely separate from the other CPAN programs. “Our goal is to have a Renfrew County where children not only have the feeling but the reality, of belonging,” said Smith.

For additional information please visit CPAN’s website at