Hope in Action

May 2020


At Ray of Hope, we’re grateful for all of your support as we continue to serve our clients and guests during COVID-19. Maybe you’re a meal team volunteer who’s keeping our Community Centre guests fed. Perhaps you’ve sewed masks to keep our front-line staff safe. You might be contributing financially or keeping us in your prayers. However you’re helping, please know that you are making a real difference at a difficult time. Blessings!

Hope for the future

Tabatha’s not letting a pandemic get in the way of her employment dreams

Enthusiastic. Optimistic. Bubbly.

Those are words that come to mind when you talk to Tabatha. She’s full of hope for her future and even though COVID-19 might have put a hitch in her plans, she’s not giving up.

Tabatha is 22 and the mother of a little boy who’s almost two. Growing up in a traumatic family situation, she says she didn’t get the chance to learn some important life skills and has never had a job.

But with the support of her boyfriend and his mom, Tabatha recently started a four-month version of Ray of Hope’s Youth Employment Program. The program is for young people who’ve had difficulty finding a job and teaches them the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

Learning new skills

While completing on-the-job training at the Morning Glory Café location at the Family Centre, Tabatha gained a wide range of skills, including learning how to handle money, something she was never taught as a child.

Tabatha has always loved to bake and working in the café kitchen also allowed her to explore new recipes. She’s even invented some of her own, like mint rice crispy squares.

“They taste like a candy cane,” she says with a little giggle.

“Tabatha has been doing so well in the café program at the Family Centre,” says Youth Employment Services Director Sharlene Wallace.

“When she first came to the café, she was pretty nervous and asked a lot of questions, but as the weeks went by, she became more confident. Tabatha has a strong work ethic and often offers to stay longer than her scheduled shift to help out her supervisor and co-workers when the café is busy.”

“A great asset”

Tabatha misses her café shifts, especially working with her co-workers and supervisor Richie Giovanniello, and she’s looking forward to getting back to work.

Once she completes the program, Tabatha is excited about finding her first job, perhaps using her hospitality skills in a commercial kitchen, or becoming a hairdresser or kindergarten teaching assistant.

“Tabatha loves to work and I am excited to see her grow and find meaningful employment when she completes the café program,” Sharlene says.

“She will be a great asset to anyone who hires her in the future!”

Thanks for the gift of PPE

Many thanks to Kelsey Porter and her mom, who have been sewing and giving away face masks in return for donations to Ray of Hope.

“My mom and I are both essential workers in the health field and we have seen first-hand the negative effects this virus has had. We have both been very concerned about keeping ourselves safe so that we can keep the people we work with healthy,” Kelsey says.

“We were able to get lots of fabric so saw this as a good opportunity to do our part and put a little bit of good out into the community.”

We would also like to thank the members of the Elmira Covid-19 Resource Group for donating masks to our Residential Addiction program!

Help St. John's Kitchen help our guests

You can help today!

Volunteers needed to prepare and package bag lunches for guests

These days, when we never know what the weather is going to be like, it’s especially important that our guests on the street have a safe, dry place to go. Starting May 4, St. John’s Kitchen will be opening as a drop-in centre for guests from 10 am to 4 pm daily.

To support this project, Ray of Hope is providing 250 healthy bag lunches each day (Monday to Friday) to St. John’s to give to guests. We have a team ready to start this work but could use some extra help. We need 2 volunteers each day from 8 to 11 am to help prepare the soup and sandwiches, and then package them up as individual meals to be delivered to St John’s.

If you are available to help this month, please call 519-578-8018, ext. 224.

We will fill shifts on a first-come, first-served basis. You can pick a one-time-only slot or sign up for the same slot every week in May if you prefer (for example, every Thursday). We will provide you with masks and gloves while you are at Ray of Hope.

Thanks for considering this volunteer opportunity!