Hope in Action

March 2021


Lately, one day often seems like the other for many of us. But sometimes, when we least expect it, something wonderful happens. In this issue, read how a young man in one of our youth justice programs created a special surprise for Family Day. Then, learn how — despite a pandemic that forced the event to go virtual — walkers and donors delivered amazing results on the Coldest Night of the Year.

One thing that doesn’t change is our gratitude for your support of Ray of Hope. Thank you for always being there for the people we serve.

A meal to remember

How a young man in custody created a special gift for Family Day

Young man making pastry in a kitchen
Tim prepares a meal in the kitchen at Open

Lockdown has been challenging for all of us, including the youth in Ray of Hope’s Open facility. Their access to recreation programs outside the facility is limited and visits home that allow them to gradually reintegrate into family life have been canceled.

But some of these young men aren’t letting the pandemic stifle their efforts to learn and grow. Tim* is one of them.

In the three months he’s been at Open, Tim has earned five credits toward his high school diploma. That’s an impressive achievement on its own, but Tim has also demonstrated his talents in the kitchen.

“Tim has been making the most of being stuck in the house by cooking and baking every chance he gets,” says Open staff member Alyssa Neudorf.

“He brought his own cookbook and has been making some of his family’s favourites, as well as trying some new recipes — all the way from cake pops, to homemade bread and pastries!”

“I always liked baking cookies and desserts with my mom,” Tim says. “I enjoy seeing how things turn out.”

Tim’s willingness to try new things has grown over the past few months, Alyssa says.

“He’s incredibly focussed and it’s been amazing to watch his confidence grow,” she says. “I can see him doing well in a culinary career. He has so much potential.”

tortellini on a plateRecently, Tim created a special meal of cheese tortellini in a rosé sauce, with Oreo cheesecake for dessert. Then, with the help of Open staff, he dropped it off on Family Day at his home, while observing social distancing protocols.

In an email to Alyssa after the visit, Tim’s mother wrote, “There are no words to express how it felt to have that gift, today, on Family Day. We are so amazed and proud at how far Tim has come in his cooking ability. He has a gift.”

“It takes a special group of people who can find those opportunities to help youth shine. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate but it truly is from our hearts.”

*Name has been changed

Cold hands, warm hearts, huge results

Dedicated Ray of Hope supporters make fundraising history on the Coldest Night

With so many people experiencing financial hardship recently, some might have wondered if participation and donations to the 2021 Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) event would be down this year. But the doubters didn’t count on the big hearts of those who walked and donated to support the Ray of Hope Community Centre this year.

Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop 533 people in 63 teams from taking to the streets in socially distanced bubbles throughout February. And it couldn’t stop the caring people who supported them by contributing more this year than in any of the previous ten CNOY events.

Together, these dedicated folks raised a whopping $231,300 (128% over goal!) and made Kitchener-Waterloo the top CNOY fundraising location in all of Canada.

This money will make up a significant portion of the ROHCC’s budget this year. It will help to provide warm meals and life-changing services for people in our community who are experiencing poverty and homelessness. Thank you to all of our walkers and donors for your compassion and generosity!

You can see individual walker and team results on the KW CNOY scoreboard.

Team posters and snowflakes with walkers’ names decorate the Community Centre.

Help a neighbour in need

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

  • Protein items like canned meat or fish and peanut butter
  • Canned tomatoes, cans/jars of fruit, pasta sauce
  • Men’s winter gloves and boots
  • Toothbrushes and full-size deodorants

You can also provide meals for hungry people through our secure donation page.