Around 380 people attended the annual fundraising banquet to support Youth for Christ in Steinbach and Blumenort. 

Executive Director Rueben Singh says the banquet is one of their major fundraisers each year. 

“So, we try and fill out the place and raise funds mostly for our impact fund. That will allow us to continue to have an impact in the community in Steinbach and Blumenort right now, too, as we have a site out there, too.” 

He says they raised nearly $72,000 at the banquet with donations still coming in. 

“We've had a couple of great sponsors; Canadian Tire took care of our dinner costs and then we had three matching sponsors as well for the 1st $15,000 total, Hydro Ag. and Unger Foaming Solutions and Drywall allowed us to really climb those numbers up this year that we fundraised.” 

Singh says this money will help them continue to support youth in various ways, like providing meals and other support. 

“We've been around now for 35 years. This is actually our 35th anniversary this year, which is an incredible amount of time and we've been able to walk alongside so many youth over the years where we were able to provide physical and emotional support and help. Last year, we served over 3300 meals to our youth. Some of those were meals of building connection and trust, and some of those meals are meals where they hadn't eaten in a day or so” 

He adds they also work at helping youth navigate through some tough situations. 

“Helping them with some school stuff or help them navigate hurts at home, that sort of thing, and pointing them into more places that they could that deeper in help as well where we don't have those skill sets.” 

Singh notes they are not there to replace family, rather to complement the support these youth are already receiving. 

“We train our staff and volunteers on new culture and different things like that to help understand and even just speaking on an appropriate level of understanding on the various topics that we interact with. And coming in, we need to love the young person first.” 

Staff and volunteers are then able to build trusting relationships with those who walk through their doors. 

“That's where it starts for us, is helping them understand the love of Jesus, that they're loved and then we can build on whatever from there.” 

Donations can be made online through their website or by dropping off a cheque at the Youth for Christ location on Lumber Avenue in Steinbach. 

“I just want to say, a big thank you to our community, both the communities of Steinbach and Blumenort, and area. We cannot do any of this without the community's partnership. And 35 years is a big milestone for us as an organization, but for our community that has backed us for that long. That's incredible and I'm very grateful for our community.”