Hope in Action
As 2022’s Coldest Night of the Year comes to a close, we thank you — our dedicated walkers, generous supporters and caring sponsors — for once again showing your support for neighbours in need. (You can see some photos from the walk below.)
Your gifts help to create a space place where anyone in the community can find food and help. People like George, a senior who was lost on the street at night. As you read his story, we hope you can sense the amazing impact you have on our community. Thank you!
Lost on a cold winter night: George's story
On a stormy January evening, Faith Laverty, a service coordinator at the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC), noticed an older gentleman who was speaking to folks passing by on King Street. He was asking for directions and appeared to be disoriented.
Faith noticed that the man was clutching a piece of paper in his hand. On it, was the address for the ROHCC. He said that the hospital had sent him.
“He seemed confused, saying at one point that a taxi had dropped him off, and at another, that he had driven himself here,” Faith says.
Wearing only a fleece sweater and a fanny pack, the man was not dressed for the frigid weather that night, and it was getting dark outside. Faith invited him into the ROHCC.
She learned that the gentleman’s name was George*, he was in his late 80s, and he had no place to go. Immediately, she called the shelter system to try and find him a space to sleep. About an hour later, the shelter system called back to break the bad news – all the spaces were full, and the only available spot would be a mat on the floor at an overflow shelter.
The shelter worker recommended that George book a hotel room if he could afford it. Fortunately, George had a credit card, and Faith worked with him to select a hotel and book a room for the night. Overhearing their conversation, another guest at the ROHCC offered to drive George to the hotel so he wouldn’t have to order a cab.
As they left, George asked staff members if they could print the address and directions for Ray of Hope from the hotel so he could find his way back tomorrow for breakfast and more help. The following morning, George showed up for breakfast. (Story continues below)
Not sure what to do next to support George, staff called the Senior Support Team, a support line operated by Waterloo Regional Police and the Waterloo Wellington LHIN to protect at-risk seniors.
After hearing the details of George’s story, the Support Team worker connected Faith with police. George matched the description of a man in an open missing person’s case.
Sure enough, within a few minutes, an officer confirmed that George was the missing person. Shortly after, he was on the phone with his son, who was relieved to hear his father’s voice.
“George had a big smile on his face, and he visibly relaxed – he knew he would be home soon,” Faith says.
That afternoon, George’s sons arrived at the centre to pick up their father. They were so grateful he had been found and thanked staff members for caring for him.
“George told us how much he appreciated the meals and the kindness he received from everyone, including the ROHCC guests who chatted with him,” Faith says.
“Agencies are trying to support so many individuals right now and it’s easy for people to slip through the cracks. George’s story is a testament of God’s provision and God’s perfect timing.”
*Name has been changed for privacy
Ray of Hope supporters share the warmth on the Coldest Night of the Year
A chilly wind and swirling snowflakes couldn’t stop hundreds of dedicated walkers from taking to the streets of downtown Kitchener on Saturday evening. People of all ages (and a few canine companions) walked on The Coldest Night of the Year to raise funds to support Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC) programs. This money will provide warm meals, a welcoming space and life-changing programming for our guests every day this year.
This is the 12th annual Coldest Night and once again, our walkers and their generous supporters demonstrated their compassion for vulnerable individuals and families. As of Wednesday evening, our caring Kitchener community had raised more than $239,000 – the highest total of the 165 Coldest Night locations across Canada!
“It’s a little windy tonight, but we’re only going to be out here for an hour or so. And when we’re done, we get to go home,” said one walker. “We’re doing this so people who maybe don’t have a home can get something to eat and have a safe place to go. We all need to look after each other.”
Many thanks to Ray of Hope volunteers and corporate sponsors who created another successful event. And to all our generous supporters, thanks for helping to keep our guests warm, fed and safe!
Didn’t get a chance to contribute before the walk? You can still donate to Ray of Hope here until March 31. Thank you!
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:
*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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also feed hungry people through our secure donation page.