Hope in Action

January 2022


The start of a new year is a chance to look back on the successes of the past 12 months — successes that wouldn’t have been possible without you. In this issue, you’ll hear how your support helped a family on the brink of homelessness. You’ll also meet a teen who successfully completed treatment for addiction and discovered a career path in the process.

This is also a time to plan for the challenges ahead — like the effect of rising food prices. The cost to provide a hot, nutritious meal has grown from $3.11 to $4.42, meaning that your gifts to the meal program have never been more welcome.

Whatever triumphs and trials come this year, we’re grateful that you’ve chosen to walk alongside neighbours in need. Thank you for everything you do to bring them hope, peace and wellbeing.

Elizabeth’s story: “We had nowhere to go”

You helped a family find support, shelter and hope.


ElizabethThanks to you, families like Elizabeth’s are getting the help they need to survive hard times.

It was only a few weeks ago that Elizabeth’s family was facing homelessness. The owner of the house they were renting had decided to renovate. As a result, Elizabeth, her husband, and their two adult sons (both of whom have disabilities) needed to find a new home. But with few rental units available — and even fewer in their price range — the situation looked hopeless.

“We had nowhere to go,” Elizabeth says.

Hardship led to hunger

A few years ago, Elizabeth’s family moved from Elliott Lake to care for her mother-in-law, who was battling cancer. Overnight, Elizabeth and her husband went from homeowners to renters — and their rent here in Kitchener was more than three times what their mortgage had been.

Then her husband lost his job and Elizabeth, a former nurse, was unable to work due to a back injury. Eventually, they found the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC), where the meal and grocery programs you support helped keep the family fed.

You bring support closer to home

While visiting the ROHCC, Elizabeth discovered the RAP Room resource hub. Here, she found more help for her family — from finding winter boots to connecting with healthcare providers.

“These outreach programs are so convenient,” she says. “We don’t have a car and some agencies are too far away to walk or bike to, or they shut during COVID.”

And when the family faced eviction, RAP Room staff helped Elizabeth find a temporary home and made sure they were enrolled on Waterloo Region’s affordable housing waitlist.

“We have food in our bellies”

Things are still not easy for Elizabeth. Her husband is working now but their new home’s rent still gobbles up a significant part of the family’s budget, leaving them with only a few dollars a month. Still, she’s grateful for the help she’s received.

“We have food in the house and food in our bellies,” Elizabeth says. “Ray of Hope has been a lifesaver for us.”

Help warm the Coldest Night of the Year!

On February 26, join thousands of Canadians across the country as we walk to help people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger. Funds raised during the Coldest Night of the Year walk in Kitchener support Ray of Hope Community Centre programs like the ones that helped Elizabeth (above). Learn more about this family-friendly event!

CNOY video graphic




How to participate

Watch next month’s Hope in Action for more about the walk. In the meantime, please consider:

  • joining a team (or starting your own!) OR
  • donating to a team or walker (check out the scoreboard to see local teams’ progress.)

We hope you’ll grab your toque and walk with us, in person or virtually. Because it’s cold out there!

Driving past addiction

Youth Addiction Service’s residential treatment program helped Morgan overcome substance misuse and continue their schooling. Now they’re exploring a career in the automotive industry.


Without help to overcome their addictions, Morgan* knows exactly where they would be.

“I’d be homeless, sleeping on a friend’s couch. Everything in my life would be about trying to get drugs,” they say.

Instead, the 17-year-old is now sober, earning high school credits, and looking forward to a future in an industry they love.

Finding a higher power

Morgan began using drugs when they were 13.

“Drugs helped me hide from my feelings, hide from the world. I was constantly fighting with my parents, trying to hide my drug use from them. I felt trapped. I felt complete despair.”

Last year, Morgan entered Youth Addiction Services’ (YAS) residential treatment program, where they received peer support and counselling and continued to earn high school credits.

“The program helped me in a million ways,” they say. They’ve learned how to deal with conflict and manage their emotions without substances. In addition, they’ve amassed significant sobriety time and made connections with Alcoholics Anonymous groups for ongoing support

“When I started the program, I was a strict atheist. Now I have faith in a higher power.”

From pot to pistons

Before the program, Morgan says they had no idea what they wanted to do in the future. In fact, when asked to do a careers presentation, they spoke about marijuana farming. “That was my addiction talking,” they say. Fortunately, Morgan’s career path took a healthier route.

“I’ve always been interested in cars,” they say. “I used to watch Top Gear and knew all the brands.”

With guidance from a YAS staff member, Morgan began learning about auto mechanics. Now, they hope to become an automotive technician.

Hope for the road ahead

Having successfully completed treatment, Morgan recently made the transition to living at home and was due to start classes at a local high school. But those plans fell through at the last minute because there was no room in the special education class they were scheduled to attend.

YAS staff quickly came up with a solution, allowing Morgan to continue their studies in the program. Each morning, Morgan drives to the residence in time for the morning meeting, where they discuss things that happened the day before, set goals and plan for the day through a check-in conversation or a reading. After attending classes, they return home in the evening.

Morgan has travelled a long way from a place of addiction and despair. Today, they’re moving forward with knowledge, support, and hope for the road ahead.

Your support helps young people like Morgan find freedom from substance abuse. To help today, please use this secure donation form and direct your gift to Youth Addiction Services.

Thank you for helping kids build healthy futures!

*Name has been changed for privacy. Morgan uses they/them pronouns.

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.