Hope in Action

February 2022


The recent bitter weather brings added hardship for our friends on the street. Your generous support makes a huge difference to them by providing warm meals and access to life-changing programs. Thank you!

On February 26, many of our staff members, volunteers and supporters (like Boxbrite Technologies — read about them below) will be walking to raise funds for Ray of Hope programs. Will you join us, either by walking yourself or sponsoring a walker? With your help, we can feed and care for even more people experiencing homelessness and hunger. Together, we can warm the Coldest Night.

You helped Brandon find the recipe for success

With your help, Brandon used skills he learned in the Employment Program to launch a career doing something he loves.


When Brandon entered Ray of Hope’s  Employment Program, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life. But there was one thing he did know – he loved cooking.

“I’ve always had a passion for cooking,” he says. “I like making pasta and anything on the barbecue.”

Through the program — funded in part by your support of Ray of Hope’s Morning Glory Café and Catering — Brandon has turned what was once a hobby into a promising career.

BrandonFinding focus

Brandon has a learning disability and, at first, he found some aspects of the in-class portion of the program challenging. His employment counsellor noted that he participated well in discussions and his work was always well thought out. However, he sometimes had difficulty completing tasks on time.

With support from program staff, Brandon found ways to work around his challenges – for instance, he discovered that playing music while working on his assignments helped him focus.

“Brandon worked very hard on tasks,” his employment counsellor says. “By the time major projects were due, he was not only working independently, he was also the first one to complete them.”

Tips and tricks

After finishing the in-class programming, Brandon went on to an internal job placement at the Morning Glory Café location at Heffner Toyota. Then it was time to begin interviewing for his external placement.

Brandon credits Employment Program staff for helping him prepare for the interview process. “They helped me write my résumé and gave me tips and tricks to help improve how I present myself,” he says.

That preparation paid off. Brandon landed the placement he’d hoped for at Ennio’s Pasta House. And after successfully completing his placement, the restaurant hired him as a cook full-time.




“Trying to find your path on your own can feel complicated and scary. The Employment Program shows you options and connects you with people who can help.” ~ Brandon, program graduate

“I love going to work”

Today, Brandon continues to use the knowledge he gained in the program — and he still enjoys music while he’s working. “I sing all the time. I’m a human radio.”

“When I get in the groove, I feel like I’m unstoppable,” he says. “I love going to work.”

And he’s grateful to the program that helped him find his direction.

“Trying to find your path on your own can feel complicated and scary. The Employment Program shows you options and connects you with people who can help.”

One day, Brandon hopes to own his own restaurant. But no matter what the future holds, he’s looking forward to a satisfying career based on his passion.

“It’s like that saying,” he says, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Did you know that every time you patronize Morning Glory Café and Catering, you’re helping young people build brighter futures? When you place a catering order with us or buy a coffee at our café, you give Employment Program participants the opportunity to learn skills to successfully enter the workforce. Thank you!

“We have a responsibility to help, encourage, and hold each other up”

Why is a team from Boxbrite Technologies walking for neighbours in need on the Coldest Night of the Year? 


The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is a nationwide fundraising walk that supports organizations serving people experiencing hunger, hurt, and homelessness. This year, the walk will be held on Saturday, February 26th. Funds raised through the Kitchener event support programs at the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC) and provide almost 25% of our annual budget.

So far, 52 amazing teams have registered to “walk for the ROHCC”. Among them is a group from Boxbrite Technologies, led by team captain Alina Kehl. Boxbrite develops software solutions for the green energy industry, including monitoring processes to ensure solar energy systems perform at peak efficiency.

Alina explains why Boxbrite staff decided to warm the Coldest Night this year:

Group of smiling people stand in front of some trees
Members of Boxbrite Technologies are helping hungry neighbours by walking in the Coldest Night of the Year event on February 26th

Why did Boxbrite choose to support Ray of Hope through the CNOY walk? 

There were a few different reasons that we were interested in supporting Ray of Hope. For the past two years, we have been working fully remote and the topic of how fortunate we have been to be able to do that is a frequent topic of conversation. A huge focus of ours has been maintaining and nurturing a culture of support and of a sense of community.

In our company, many of us come from different places and we all carry our own stories and journeys with us. We value extending understanding to people that may think or work differently than us or have faced great challenges to get to where they are today. As a company, we believe that it is extremely important to give back to your community and operate through a lens of compassion and empathy. Simply put, we think that all of us as humans have a responsibility to help, encourage, and hold each other up.

 What do you hope to achieve through walking on the CNOY?

I hope that Boxbrite’s and all the other teams’ participation will help remind us that there is a large need to commit to helping those struggling with poverty and the challenges that come with it. The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the injustices and problems that exist in all our communities. It has created an even greater need and desire to support organizations dedicated to supporting the vulnerable. The pandemic has flipped a lot of things upside down, and my hope would be that, as we recover and move forward, that we don’t strive to “go back to normal” but work to create a society that does a better job of taking care of each other.

Thank you, Boxbrite, for walking to help our guests. Because it’s cold out there!


You are invited to join us for the Coldest Night walk, a fun and meaningful activity that everyone in your company, church or family can participate in. Why not form your own Coldest Night team? It’s quick and easy to register.

Join us in person on a socially distanced walk of 2 or 5km or pick your own “virtual route”, get some sponsors and walk on Saturday, February 26th. Whatever you choose,  you’ll be making a difference for hungry and vulnerable neighbours this winter. Learn more here.

Help a neighbour in need

When you give, you make life a little easier for vulnerable people in our community. Thank you!

The Marketplace food hamper program has put out a special call for these items:

  • Dry cereal (e.g., Cheerios, granola, etc.)
  • Canned soup* and fruit
  • Canned meat, flakes of ham, chicken, salmon, etc.*
  • Individually packaged snacks (e.g., granola bars, apple sauce, etc.)
  • Shopping bags

*Thanks to you, we have a large supply of tomato soup and tuna. Other canned soups or canned fish/meat are welcome!

For more information, please contact us at: info@rayofhope.net.

You can also feed hungry people through our secure donation page.