The annual "Rockin' for a Reason" fundraiser for Steinbach Community Outreach was a huge success Saturday night bringing in over $35,000 in donations for the Drop-in centre, homeless shelter, and the many programs they offer. 

Office manager Charlene Kroeker responds to the amount. 

“We are so blessed to have the support of our community behind us. The event sold out really quickly with all the tables being filled. So, we're really excited and we had a great time.” 

Kroeker tells us where the funds raised will be going.  

“This money is going to support our ongoing programming at the drop-in centre. So, our food hampers, our counseling program, our hygiene hampers that we hand out and then, you know, just keeping the lights on in the building, so that people have a safe, warm place to go when the weather is bad outside, they need a place to come.” 

When it comes to upcoming SCO projects, Kroeker says,  

“We have a lot of dreams. There are many gaps still in the system that we're hoping to address. We've got The Bridge and once that's complete and we're settled in and that's running smoothly, we know at some point in the near future, we're going to have to relocate our Drop-in centre, which will mean, you know, some renovations or finding a new space. We'd love to have a space that's accessible for our clients with mobility issues. So, to have something like that would be fantastic. So, that will likely be our next project, and then we have many other things that we dream about every single day.” 

Kroeker also mentions they are discussing the need for a Warming Shelter and what that would look like, how it can be managed, and what the need is. “Because that is something that has been expressed by our homeless population that they really need a place to go at night, especially when it's bad weather outside.” 

She says they are also appreciative and grateful for all donations SCO receives on a daily basis, from toilet paper to groceries, to socks and shoes, and clothing.  

“So, the more we are able to share these things with our friends in need, the less they need to worry about their other needs. We're so blessed that so many groups of people are coming together to support us just with things cans of food, with toilet paper, with a bottle of shampoo, whatever it is, it can be something small. We really appreciate it.” 

SCO Board Chair Elroy Peters shared their vision “To restore dignity through meeting essential needs. Our mission is to work with the poor, homeless, and those at risk of becoming homeless by filling the gaps left by other programs and organizations. We do this by addressing their unmet essential needs of food, clothing, shelter, and relationship and assisting them in accessing available services.” 

Peters says, right now the current Drop-In Center is bursting at the seams. “We have doubled the number of guests and expect that trend to continue. And with the Steinbach Mennonite Church, our current landlord, re-evaluating our arrangement, as their needs have changed recently, our belief is that we will need to address SCO’s Drop-in Centre space in the next two to three years.” 

Peters continues, “So, if anyone has 6,000 sq ft of space, a low lease rate, please come see me.”

Halfway through the event, SCO staff, Myra Gerbrandt and Madeline Thiessen, took time to chat with a former guest of SCO, Derek, who shared his story of homelessness and how he got back on his feet with the help of Steinbach Community Outreach staff and the programs they offer.  

Derek shares, “It was definitely a hard time for me. I was burnt out I mean when I first got here, I cried for a long time. But, I felt like these people were actually looking out for me. I've never really had that in my life, didn't have a great childhood, and didn't do any better in my teens and 20s. So I’m getting a bit better now, but if I didn't come in and have you guys show me that kind of love, and then there’s Irene, I know, Steinbach Community Outreach without Irene starting all of it, and you guys here, I wouldn't be here.” 

The evening included a meal, conversations around the tables, and music by local group “Crossfire” and “Byron Falk and the Half-time Cowboys”.  

Ingrid Penner expresses appreciation to the many who donated to SCO.Ingrid Penner expresses appreciation to the many who donated to SCO in memory of her husband Reg.

Some numbers of interest:  

$220,000 – 2023 Steinbach Community Outreach Budget 

$1,200 – 1,500 – the cost to help 1 person off the street (includes some housing costs) 

113 – the number of Volunteers at SCO 

550 – SCO guests per month 

35 – the number of people living on the streets of Steinbach on any given night.  

28 – the number of people SCO has helped transition out of homelessness and into long-term housing.  

319 – nights of emergency shelter at Today House in one year 

460 – food hampers handed out  

137 – hygiene hampers handed out 

300 – income tax returns were completed, so that folks could receive benefits in April 

550 – individual's lives were changed because of SCO last year