Hope in Action

May 2021


Every day at Ray of Hope, we see God working in the lives of the people around us — healing them, comforting them, and calling them to travel new paths. In this issue, we’re celebrating Jon Hill, whose 45 years of service to Ray of Hope began after God made a dramatic change in his life.

We are grateful for Jon and for people like you whose support allows us to do God’s work. Thank you!

From young offender to valued employee

Celebrating Jon Hill’s 45 years of service at Ray of Hope

It was the early ’70s and a teenage Jon Hill was on a dangerous path. He was addicted to drugs and alcohol and in trouble with the law. He couldn’t seem to stay employed. In 1972, for instance, he got a construction job at Hope Manor (a corrections facility run by Ray of Hope for what were then known as juvenile delinquents). He lasted only four hours before he was off on a drinking binge.

Jon sits at a table covered with books and office supplies
Jon in the early days at Hope Manor

All that changed dramatically in May 1975. Literally overnight, Jon gave up drugs and alcohol and committed his life to Christ. Eleven months later, he was back at Hope Manor — this time as a staff member. He’s been with Ray of Hope ever since.

Caring for those in need

That rebellious young man is now Ray of Hope’s longest-serving employee. And he’s filled a variety of positions as the organization has grown.

After a number of years at Hope Manor, Jon was asked to help launch Ray of Hope’s new open custody facility, Anchor House. He ran that program for 18 years. He then became director of the Oasis drop-in program, which grew and eventually transformed into the present Community Centre (ROHCC); Jon served in that role until 2018.

Jon lifts a black chair over his head
Jon at the ROHCC with a donation of new chairs for the dining room

Comforting others in any trouble

But no matter what the job title, Jon’s passion has always been to use his experiences to care for those in need. He often quotes 2 Corinthians 1:4. The verse talks about how God “comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others in any trouble.” (NKJV)

“When I became a Christian, one of the biggest things for me was I had to help people that were trapped in the life that I was trapped in when I was addicted,” he says. That’s why — at a time when some people might have been considering retirement — Jon took on yet another role.

Serving “the least of these”

Now, as Ray of Hope’s community relations specialist, Jon continues to use the relationships he’s built over the years with local churches and community groups. He highlights the growing needs of people struggling with homelessness, poverty, crime, and addiction — and how Ray of Hope is helping them.

During his first year in the position, Jon made 104 visits to churches and schools, gave 78 tours, and 59 presentations. And while the pandemic has limited his in-person visits, he continues to connect with groups via Zoom, and online social media services. He recently even presented at a drive-in church service.

In his presentations to these groups, Jon often mentions the well-known verse from the Book of Matthew: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”


“To be a Christian is not to be religious. To be a Christian is to reach out to ‘the least of these’ — the hungry, the thirsty, those in prison, the lonely, the homeless.  I believe that Ray of Hope is doing what Christ would do if he was here.” – Jon Hill

A mentor to seekers

Reflecting on his 45-year milestone Jon notes that, “I didn’t accomplish this goal — I have gained by it. I’m grateful because Ray of Hope has kept me focussed on people in need and this has made me so grateful for what God has done in me.”

Jon and two women with a little boy
Jon is a tireless fundraiser for Ray of Hope programs

Aside from his work building relationships for Ray of Hope, Jon is also active in Power to Change Ministries, where he mentors seekers and new Christians. He monitors several news sources, gathering information on homelessness and other social issues in Waterloo Region and across Canada.  And every year, he leads a team of walkers during the Coldest Night of the Year event to raise money for the ROHCC.

The “Jesus factor”

“What I love about Ray of Hope is that we are about ecumenical outreach first and a community service second. It’s the Jesus factor. My hope for the organization moving forward is that the Christian piece will continue to grow, and we will continue to be there for ‘the least of these.’”

Want to learn more about how your church or community group can help people in need in Waterloo Region? Please contact Jon at jhill@rayofhope.net.

Remembering Orvie Bowman

Ray of Hope is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of board member Orvie Bowman on Friday, April 23. Our hearts go out to his wife Heather and their three children, as they begin to navigate this very difficult time. Please join us in praying that our God, the God of all comfort, would grant them each a measure of peace, comfort, and strength.

Easter dinner raises $2,000 for youth employment

Thank you to our supporters who purchased 120 Easter dinners from Morning Glory Cafe & Catering. With your help, we raised more than $2,000 to help young people in our Youth Employment Program gain the skills they need to be successful in the workplace.

Want to meet some of the youth that the program has helped? Read stories from Rupesh, Petra, Amberlee, and Craig.

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 can always use these items:

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

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

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