Joe Roberts with students at Clearspring Middle School in Steinbach.
A man pushing a shopping cart across Canada made a stop in Steinbach Monday, to share his message with students at Clearspring Middle School.
Joe Roberts who grew up in Ontario, but resides in BC, was homeless as a youth. It was because a Police Officer recognized him as a person in need of help rather than as a threat, that made the difference in his life.
Roberts says 235,000 Canadians find themselves homeless every year, and 20% of them are youth between the ages of 13 and 24. He says he chose to push a shopping cart across our nation to raise awareness, with the hope of ending homelessness.
Roberts says most homelessness goes unseen. “You might not see a young person sitting on a piece of cardboard here in Steinbach but the issues that create homelessness include things like family conflict, generational poverty, abuse, drugs, and depression, things that create the environment for a young person to find themselves in the outer circle, so leaving home too early exists.”
Roberts says, “A shopping cart represents chronic homelessness, and we are trying to avoid that for all young Canadians. Nobody has pushed a shopping cart across Canada, so we built our campaign and brought along our sponsors.”
For his first speaking engagement in Manitoba, he shared his story of homelessness and offered the hope to local students. He told them they can do extraordinary things with their life if they have the courage to take a few steps forward. Because of the many steps he’s taken on his trek across the country, he’s worn through at least 12 pairs of sneakers and several winter boots. Roberts says when he’s done with each pair, they are donated to the homeless.
On May 1, 2016, Roberts and his crew left St. John’s Newfoundland, 352 days and 6,400 km later, he is half-way across the country in Steinbach. He plans to share his message with young people across Canada as he pushes his shopping cart to his final destination on September 29, 2017, in Vancouver, BC.
The Band RBB on stage in the Neufeld Garage Saturday evening
The Neufeld Garage was filled with music Saturday evening as The Band RBB and Chris Sawatzky took the stage for the Rockin’ For A Reason 3.0 charity concert.
Today House Chair Simone Penner says this is the third annual Rockin’ For A Reason concert and all of the money raised goes to Today House and Steinbach Community Outreach. She notes they sold out once again thanks to their generous table sponsors.
The snack table at Rockin’ For A Reason 3.0
“We raised a total of $15,355 which is amazing, so we share half of those proceeds with outreach due to the generosity of two title sponsors. It is a start to finish theme, from the start when we get a guest at Today House till Outreach finds somewhere to place them it costs approximately $1,000 per person.”
She notes the money will help approximately 15 people find a place to live. She notes The Band RBB, who headlined the concert, were actually the ones who came up with the charity concert idea.
Guitarist and Band Spokesperson Steve Neufeld says the band formed around four years ago and they were looking for a place to play when they were presented with an opportunity. He notes they were rehearsing on Main Street in Steinbach when a man walked in and asked if he could listen.
“At the end of the practice we asked him where he was headed and he said he had nowhere to go. He didn’t have a place to sleep that night, he hadn’t eaten in a couple of days so we fed him, got a hold of Irene Kroeker of Today House and Community Outreach and got him a place to sleep that night and into the outreach program so we thought, you know what if we are going to do an event, we are going to plan it around those two organizations and help them do some fundraising.”
Neufeld says The Band RBB has worked with Today House every year since to put on the fundraiser concert. He adds Rockin’ For A Reason 3.0 was a big success and thanks all of the sponsors and guests for their amazing generosity.
Rockin’ for a Reason 3.0 – April 8 March 24th, 2017
Unique venue….amazing music….snacks and beverages….celebrating and honouring 2 organizations that make our community a better place…
A fundraiser for Today House and Steinbach Community Outreach.
Tickets available for Rockin’ for a Reason 3.0….$25
Kudos to Mitchel Middle School February 2nd, 2017
Kudos to the Mitchell Middle School for growing community minded students. This is an amazing donation of 475 mitts, scarves, socks, and hats! Our shelter guests are in good (warm) hands.
Welcome to the team Katherine! January 31st, 2017
Katherine Bergen , Shelter Coordinator
Born and raised in the Steinbach area, Katherine has seen and been a part of the community growth. Passionate about the place she calls home, she was drawn to become a volunteer with Today house. As a volunteer she was humbled by her interaction with the guests and hearing their stories. Katherine believes there is nothing more rewarding then giving back and making a difference in the lives of people in a community that has given so much. Her background and life experience have positioned her well to understand the wide diversity of people and social conditions represented across the community, creating a passion that has led to 11 years of service in the care giving field. In 2013, she studied at Red River College to obtain her health care aide certificate, and has since enjoyed her service to seniors in the Steinbach and surrounding communities. Her leisure time is spent enjoying many outdoor activities such as, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and relaxing with her husband Matt and son Darson.
“Helping others in need is not only a responsibility of life; it is what gives meaning to life” –Molly Marty