The Executive Director for Steinbach Youth For Christ (YFC) says there has been a noticeable increase in the number of young people dropping by their centre. And lunch goers in Steinbach today will have a chance to help out financially.

Rueben Singh says prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they would have between 30 and 40 youth stop by on drop-in evenings. Back then, 50 youth felt like a busy night. However, they can now see between 60 and 80 youth in a night and Singh says 50 feels like a slow night. 

Singh says he is not entirely sure what is driving the added interest.

"I think part of it is people want to be out, they want community, they want real connection and word of mouth works," says Singh. "We've seen a lot of young people come through our doors we've never seen before and start building into their lives as well."

Steinbach YFC will be the recipient of funds raised from Wednesday's Taste of Summer Charity BBQ in downtown Steinbach. Held every Wednesday in July and August, this event invites individuals and families to join together at the corner of Main and Lumber, right in front of the Steinbach Credit Union, for lunch from 11 am to 1 pm. To participate, all it takes is a minimum donation of two dollars for lunch, but organizers kindly request attendees to consider contributing more to support local charities. 

According to Singh, summer is always a busy time for YFC. Funds raised on Wednesday will help towards their summer programming.

"Having camping trips, extra meals that will be provided, fishing trips, beach trips," says Singh, identifying some of the ways they will use that money. "Things like that that are just going to allow them to be young people and enjoy their summer, instead of worrying about what am I going to do tomorrow, how am I going to get through this, does anybody care about me?"

Singh says they want to create fun and safe opportunities for youth in order to help them just be young people. He notes fundraisers like this one make it possible for kids to take part in outings without needing to worry about how much it will cost. 

Meanwhile, Singh says another reason why this summer is particularly busy for them is because they are working on their expansion into Blumenort. He is hopeful to have their facility there open in early September. Singh notes they have hired Vince Kehler to serve as Ministry Director there.

"Really excited about that," he says. "He's known the community for years and it's going to be a really great fit."

Singh reminds the community that it takes a village to raise a child. He says it is important for parents to know that raising a child is not something they must do on their own. It is also important for the community to know this and highlights the fact that Steinbach YFC is currently looking for a male staff member for Steinbach and a female staff member for Blumenort. 


With files from Corny Rempel and Dave Anthony