There is a big increase in the number of families who are getting support from the food bank in Steinbach. 

The most recent numbers show that 450 families are picking up food hampers every two weeks from South East Helping Hands (SEHH) in Steinbach and the numbers keep climbing. That’s up from 350 to 400 hampers in August of 2023. 

Hank Klassen says even though there are plenty of jobs in the area, the pay is often not enough to help people out of poverty. 

“So, sometimes they’re better off on EI (Employment Insurance) than actually going to work,” he says. 

Ken Dyck agrees that this is a problem. 

“It’s something government has to fix, we can’t fix this,” he adds. 

There are a variety of reasons, and a combination of challenges, causing extra hardship on families, Dyck notes. 

“There are so many different variables,” he says. “Our gas prices, our food prices, interest rates go up, a house mortgage all of the sudden is... you’re in a scary position.” 

Klassen chimes in, “Transportation is really bad already. You just can’t get around. So even if they find a job, they can’t get there.” 

Families will pick up hampers this week and the food bank does not have enough cereal to go around. 

Dyck is asking the public to help them feed people who are struggling to put food on the table. Aside from the need for cereal, the food bank can use more donations of pork and beans, tomato soup, pasta, mixed vegetables, and cake mix. 

He says it’s important to remember that everyone deserves to have treats like cake, especially for birthdays. 

You can drop off donations at South East Helping Hands at 525 Main Street or bring food donations to the bin at various stores throughout the city. Donations can also be made through their website. 

South East Helping Hands building with an unfinished expansion.South East Helping Hands moved into this building in 2009. This expansion will provide extra storage space, making it easier for volunteers to access food items to fill hampers.

The building is being expanded to help support the increased demand. The 70 X 25 ft. addition will be used for storage. Klassen says this will give them easier access to food supplies, and less shuffling around. 

Meanwhile, Dyck says SEHH is working with a group in La Broquerie to help them get their own food bank up and running. They have received charitable status and are now looking for a suitable building, he notes. 

When their facility is up and running, Dyck says La Broquerie will take over approximately 50 families from SEHH.