Steinbach Community Outreach arrived at another milestone on Monday, as “The Bridge” construction crew moved onto the roof.
A project that began in 2021 on paper with a promise of grant money and donations, coming in from the city, the province, and the public, is now a 3-story 24-unit apartment complex being built on Woodhaven Avenue across from Abe’s Hill.
Charlene Kroeker from SCO says seeing local businesses and volunteers continue to give their time and money is very much appreciated.
“We are so grateful for all the support we’ve received from the community. For everyone to come together like this and bring this project together, making things happen for the people who are most in need in our community is just absolutely amazing.”
Kroeker says the generosity of Steinbach residents has been evident throughout the construction process.
"We have gotten support in so many different areas, with suppliers discounting materials, business owners in the community, and community members coming together to support our project, It's been so overwhelming and great to see.”
Kroeker took a moment to thank Darryl Dyck, co-owner of PrairieSky Roofing, and Greg Griffin, territory manager for GAF for their contribution to “The Bridge”.
Griffin, who is also a resident of Steinbach, donated all the shingles for the building and Kroeker continues,
“Prairie Sky Roofing is doing all the work. They're all up there with him. They have donated all the labor to put this together. This roof is really coming together and it's pretty amazing how the community has come to support this project. We really, truly appreciate it.”
Griffin says that Darryl Dyck brought this project to his attention in late 2022, “I immediately wanted to help.”
“PrairieSky has a strong taste for the community, along with Ingrid and Reg Penner, his cousins, we worked pretty closely together in the roofing community. Darryl brought this opportunity to our attention and we jumped all over it, both of us, so it’s a great cause. We call this place home, so giving back is the least we could do. It’s a small part of the project, but we're happy we can help.”
Griffin notes that GAF has a social impact initiative called Community Matters within the company and, “we do stuff like this all across North America, but getting the opportunity to do this in Steinbach is awesome and amazing. Of all the places in Canada, all the big metropolitan areas, and then we get to take it locally here in my hometown, that was pretty cool.”
Darryl Dyck says the whole project has been a community effort. “From people supplying materials, people delivering the products, and guys donating hours. It’s great. Just great.”
When asked what the project means to him, Dyck says,
“I don't know. Just giving a little bit back, I guess. You know, business has been good for us and I think it's been good for GAF and they had this community outreach program, I kind of heard about it six months or so ago and it kind of caught my attention. And one day my cousins, Ingrid and Reg, called me up and said, “Hey, we have this project here can you bid on it? And I guess I saw the opportunity there, and I thought maybe we could do a little better than that. It was something that was near and dear to their hearts and they're both near and dear to me.” His voice trails off, and one can hear the compassion behind the roofer.
The team effort between GAF and PrairieSky Roofing is very much a matter of the heart. GAF donated the shingles and materials and Dyck donated the time and labor, which Griffin says, “is an extremely valuable resource as well. And yeah, together we're able to put the roof on, at pretty much the cost of what's on this table here.” Referring to the coffee and baked goods, waiting for folks to enjoy.
Dyck notes, often when residents are asked to make a donation to an organization, one might not know really, where the money is going, but with Steinbach Community Outreach one knows.
“Here's an opportunity where we can at least help with this roof. You know, between guys giving time, when we give a little time, or we give a little material, we can multiply that value by like 5 times. You know, the value of this roof is far beyond, like we couldn’t take all of us here and donate that kind of cash. You know, that would be way harder, but we can provide that kind of value. So, when you see those opportunities, I think you have got to seize them. That's the way to make charity work. You gotta do it that way.”
Ingrid Penner, SCO board member this project holds a special place in her heart, as it was her husband Reg Penner that was a huge proponent of getting it started.
“This project means a lot. It means a lot to me because it was a project that my husband was also passionate about and helping those that are in need of a home. We're so blessed to be able to be a part of this, absolutely.”
“The Bridge,” a 24-unit building that can house up to 36 residents, will be owned and operated by Steinbach Community Outreach with the goal of fostering safe and independent living for low-income residents in Steinbach.
Tenants living in the building can also expect assistance from the non-profit's day programming. Budgeting assistance, food and hygiene product hampers, access to free clothing and bedding closets, and Steinbach Community Outreach's free income tax clinic will all be available. Help locating free furniture and basic start-up supplies is also available, as are connections to mental health and other local resources.