For every childcare space in Steinbach and the surrounding area, three or four children are currently in need of one. Kinder Korner, for example, has a preschool waiting list that recently surpassed 400.

“Steinbach is a bit of a childcare desert,” says Dana Cyrenne. “The need is so great that we thought it was time for us to be proactive and start looking at what we can do to offer the community some more spaces.”

Cyrenne, the Executive Director of Kinder Korner Early Learning Centres, says her organization is hoping to fundraise $500,000, and to kick it all off they’ll be hosting a family BBQ on June 8 at AD Penner Park. The event is open to everyone in the community and will include games, crafts, face painting, a bouncy castle, 50/50 draw and silent auction. For $5, guests can also enjoy a hot dog, chips and a drink.

With the provincial and federal governments already working to increase resources for childcare, Cyrenne says it’s the perfect time for Kinder Korner to participate in the fundraising process as well.

“It’s a lot of work,” she admits. “But it’s to the benefit of the community and surrounding area. Now is the time.”

There are many reasons why families and caregivers may want to access childcare, Cyrenne explains, from creating opportunities for a parent to join the workforce, rejoin the workforce or go back to school. By opening more spaces, she says, families have better access to those options.

Established in 1978 in the basement of the hospital, Kinder Korner now operates three childcare centres at three locations: SRSS, Clearspring Middle School and the standalone facility on Hanover St. Needless to say, all 183 spaces are filled. Which is exactly why Cyrenne and her staff are putting on the fundraising BBQ.

“It’s a big reach, but we’re going to do the best we can,” she says, referencing the $500,000 goal. “We recently had a raffle for prizes including a BBQ, Liquor Commission card and Country Meats gift card. The sales were amazing.”

The June 8 event, which starts at 11:00 a.m. and will run until 2:00 p.m., will give families and the community a chance to meet Kinder Korner board members and staff while enjoying the food and fun activities on offer.

“Everyone is welcome to join in,” she says. “It’ll be a nice way to kick off the summer for all of us.”

Kinder Korner Early Learning Centres can be reached by calling (204) 326-4574. Additional information is also available on their website.

Poster for Kinder Korner event