Hope in Action

December 2019


Two thousand years ago, a weary woman prepared to deliver her baby in a stable because there was no room for her anywhere else. But in that lowly place, a miracle happened and a Saviour was born.

At Ray of Hope, we see smaller—but no less meaningful—miracles occur in ordinary places, too. At our Community Centre. In our treatment programs. In our classrooms. At our refugee house. Your gifts of time, talent and treasure help these little miracles happen and we are truly grateful.

Our wish for you this Christmas is that you experience your own miracles, large and small. May you see the Christ Child in every face, and above the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, may you hear the angels sing.

Christmas greetings from our CEO

I can’t believe that December is already here and that I have been blessed to work at Ray of Hope for just over four months now.  It has been an exciting time of learning and finding my place within the agency.  I look forward to learning and growing more as we work together to fill our mission and vision.

This time of the year makes me think of all the ways that God could have chosen to reveal Himself to the world.  When I consider the circumstances that Jesus was born into, I cannot help but think of the people whom we are blessed to serve each day.

Christmas is also a time for us to think and pray for those who are struggling, whether it be with addictions, mental health, unemployment, homelessness or poverty.  We understand that Christmas can bring added pressure for people trying to live their lives while also coping with their own situations. We pray for them today and every day but particularly during this Christmas season.

Although we are grateful for your support and wish you well all year, please accept my prayers for a joyous and holy Christmas, and my best wishes for a Happy and safe New Year.

In the Potter’s Hand,

Tonya Verburg

Giving and growing at Laurelwood PS

At Laurelwood Public School, students are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic – they’re learning about empathy and social responsibility too.

In early December, staff and students at the K-8 school in Waterloo took time out from classes to celebrate their annual Week of Giving. During this week, students raise money and collect items that are then donated to local agencies, including Ray of Hope, that serve people in need in our community.

Teacher Rhonda Peng describes how the Week of Giving also builds on the Waterloo Region District School Board’s character development program, in which each month of the school year focusses on one attribute, like kindness or respect.

“December’s attribute is empathy, the ability to walk in another person’s shoes,” she says.

donations in hallway at Laurelwood PS
These are just some of the items collected by Laurelwood students that will be donated to Ray of Hope and other local agencies this Christmas!

Putting the ‘fun’ in fundraising

This was Laurelwood’s 19thWeek of Giving. Each day of the week has its own theme and students are encouraged to bring in donations that suit the theme – baby items on Munchkin Monday, hats and mitts on Wooly Wednesday, and so on. This year’s Turkey Thursday saw students raise a whopping $5,619 for the KW Rotary Club’s turkey drive.

But the week is not just about fundraising. It’s about fun too. The primary, junior, senior grades compete to see which group can bring in the most donations. The daily assemblies held during the week feature characters like Builder Bob, who trades his work boots for Fashionista Fiona’s high heels, and literally “walks in another’s shoes.” And one assembly featured teachers racing tricycles while wearing rubber turkeys on their heads, much to the students’ amusement.

Inspiring impact

The week is also a chance for a group of Grade 8 students, the Laurelwood Lightning Leaders, to take part in planning and setting up activities for the younger kids. Part of their responsibility at the assemblies is to roll in shopping carts full of donated items so students can see what they’ve achieved. Afterwards, the items are displayed in the school’s lobby.

For many students, the spirit of giving lives on after they’ve moved on to high school. In fact, Rhonda says, Laurelwood grads have set up campaigns in their new schools, like the Warm4Winter coat drive held at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School. And students often return to Laurelwood to speak to the younger students about why giving is so important.

All these activities “help our students to see the real impact they can have in the community,” Rhonda says. “They realize, ‘it’s in me to give.’”

To hear more about the Week of Giving from Laurelwood students, listen to their interview on the December 3 edition of The Mike Farwell Show on 570 News. The interview starts at 66:02.

Girls walk on King Street during the Coldest Night of the Year eventComing Up

February 23 – Join us for the Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk. Whether you walk or sponsor someone else, your gifts help hungry, homeless and hurting people through Ray of Hope’s Community Centre programs.

Older homeless manHow you can help today

When you give any of these items, you help to make life a little easier for struggling neighbours. Thank you!

  • Protein items like tuna, peanut butter, canned stew and chili; instant coffee, milk powder and sugar; rice and cereal; jam and canned fruit; spaghetti sauce and soup
  • Large crockpots with securely attached lids (with handles)
  • Men’s socks and underwear; razors and shaving cream, shampoo and hand lotion
  • Bus tickets

Or provide meals for hungry people through our secure donation page