There are more people accessing local resources for financial support in southeastern Manitoba. 

Steinbach M.L.A. Kelvin Goertzen is hearing of more people who are facing challenging situations. 

“With high interest rates, high inflation, there’s a lot of those in the community who are suffering more than they would have expected a couple of years ago because those dollars aren’t going as far.” 

He recently participated in a fundraising event organized by the Rotary Club of South Eastman supporting Steinbach Family Resource Centre and ROC (Recreation Opportunities for Children) Eastman. 

The jailbreak event involved some acting as participants were “arrested” and brought to the Rotary “jail” at Clearspring Centre, and “bail” was set which indicated how much money each person had to raise in order to be released. 

While it wasn’t a real jail, Goertzen notes the money raised is very real and will have a real impact on the organizations that help local families. He can relate to those in need. 

“There was a time, when I was much younger, when my family relied on some of those resources when my father passed away. People go through different circumstances that aren’t always planned and can’t be planned for, and then they rely on the community for support.” 

Goertzen believes there has always been a need for community supports like the food bank and other organizations, but he says it seems like that need is much greater now, which means there is also a greater need for people to give what they can to support these organizations that help people in need. 

He appreciates spending time in the community, whether it’s at a fundraiser or in local businesses, having the opportunity to visit with constituents. 

“We spend a lot of time as MLAs in the legislature, and that’s part of our job and that’s an important part of the job. But sometimes, that’s just politicians talking to each other in the legislature. Where you really find out what's happening and how you can bring views into the legislature is when you are out into the community.”  

What is Goertzen hearing while he’s in the community? 

“People are concerned about the high cost of living, concerned about inflation, wondering about things that are happening in the community. Sometimes it's just real time issues like the Southeast Event Center, ‘When do you expect that that's going to open? What do you think the impact of that might be on the community?’ So, some of them are very local issues. Some of them are much higher-level issues. Sometimes there are talks about what's happening in the United States and their election. I really enjoy those types of interactions, because that allows you to go back to the legislature and not just talk to each other as politicians but be able to give voice to people who talk to you about concerns they have.”