Closeup of an older man wearing a knitted cap
January 2023

Hope in Action

Meet Robbie, a dedicated volunteer and ROHCC guest. Through Work It Forward — a program that your support makes possible — he’s building friendships and contributing to the Community Centre in so many ways. Thanks for helping to create opportunities for our neighbours to learn, give back and thrive!

Volunteer Robbie has become a key member of the ROHCC kitchen team. And when it comes to connecting with guests, he offers something that staff can’t.

It’s a busy afternoon in the kitchen at the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC). Staff and volunteers are preparing meals for the hundreds of hungry guests who come to the Centre every day for food, support and a sense of community.

In the middle of the bustle, volunteer Robbie operates the commercial dishwasher, cleaning a constant stream of pots, pans and utensils so they’re ready for the next task.

As you watch Robbie joke quietly with his co-workers, it’s clear that he’s a well-liked and essential member of the kitchen team. But he wasn’t always so outgoing.

Gaining experience ­– and friendships

ROHCC Program Supervisor Sara McKnight says she’s amazed at the changes she’s seen in Robbie — who is also a Community Centre guest — over the last few months.

“Robbie used to keep to himself. But since he got involved in the kitchen, he has blossomed. He has good relationships with everyone, and he adds so much to the team.”

Robbie is a participant in the ROHCC’s Work It Forward program, which provides guests with a chance to gain employment experience, earn volunteer hours and give back. Guests can choose to work with either the custodial or kitchen teams.

“Zach, our kitchen supervisor, met Robbie when they were both working in the restaurant industry. He invited Robbie to volunteer and now their friendship is even stronger.”

Offering peer support

Not only does Robbie wash dishes every day from Monday to Friday, he’s also willing to help in other capacities, from serving meals to working in the Marketplace, Ray of Hope’s grocery program.

“Wherever he’s needed, he goes,” Sara says. “Robbie is amazing with guests, respectful and empathetic.”

Sara says that Robbie offers something to other guests that staff can’t – peer support. Some guests have difficulty trusting social services. Volunteers who are also guests can help break down any negative assumptions they may have and invite them to explore new opportunities.

“Volunteers like Robbie can relate to our guests at a level we can’t. They help us build relationships so Ray of Hope can be a support for everyone.”

 If you’d like to help more people like Robbie discover their strengths, please use this secure donation form and direct your gift to the Community Centre/Meal Program. Thank you for making such a difference in our guests’ lives!

Group of people in winter coats and tuques sitting around a picnic table

Join us on February 25 for the Coldest Night of the Year

The Coldest Night of the Year is a family-friendly walk to raise money for local charities serving people experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness. Each year, the money raised by Ray of Hope’s generous friends contributes significantly to the Community Centre’s budget. When you walk or donate, you’ll be making sure that our neighbours have warm meals and the support they need this winter.

Please team up, fundraise, walk, and gather for good… because it’s cold out there.

Click here to learn more about the Coldest Night of the Year walk.

Help a neighbour in need

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

URGENT: The Marketplace food hamper program is running low on all items and the following are especially needed:

  • Cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned food (meat and fish, fruit, soup, vegetables, etc.)
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Reuseable or plastic shopping bags
  • Toiletries, including toothpaste and toothbrushes, razors, shampoo/conditioner and feminine hygiene products

For more information, please contact us at: All donations are appreciated!

You can also feed hungry people through our secure donation page.



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