Closeup of an older man wearing a knitted cap
January 2024

Hope in Action

The support of volunteers and donors makes a huge difference in the lives of the people Ray of Hope serves —  thank you! As we kick off 2024, we’re spotlighting staff at two local financial institutions, who are investing time, energy and financial resources to help provide vital programs for our Community Centre guests.

Six people stand behind a table loaded with multi-coloured shopping bags

Branch Managers Karem Orellana (far left) and Nick Horrigan (far right) led a food drive at local Scotiabank branches to help guests at the Ray of Hope Community Centre.

Investing in our community

Local financial institutions find their support for Ray of Hope pays big dividends

Credit unions and banks play an important role in our society. They help their clients build their dreams — whether it’s attending college, buying a house or launching a business. And by managing and distributing money, these institutions keep the economy running smoothly.

Staff at financial institutions located in downtown Kitchener also witness the challenges that many in our community face — including homelessness, substance misuse and unemployment. As a way of supporting the community in which they operate, two of these organizations are building partnerships with the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC). And those connections are making a difference for both the people Ray of Hope serves and the organizations themselves.

Sharing values at Kindred

“We value integrity, compassion and stewardship, and we look for ways to live our values every day,” says Kate Pearce, Manager, Social Impact at Kindred Credit Union, which has a branch just a stone’s throw from the Community Centre.

“We connect with and support organizations – like Ray of Hope – who have values that align with ours and who are working to address the three focus areas in our Community Inspiration Framework: safe and affordable housing, community food security, and financial empowerment.”

Aside from an opportunity to put values into action, Kate says, the partnership benefits Kindred because it helps the organization connect with the community and allows staff to learn about local issues and resources.

Building long-term partnerships

Kindred’s support for Ray of Hope has included both corporate sponsorship and volunteering (the organization gives each staff person one full volunteer day each year to donate their time to the charity of their choice.) Last February, staff raised more than $2,000 for the ROHCC during the Coldest Night of the Year event.

“We have a deep appreciation for the work Ray of Hope does and we’ve witnessed how you live your mission,” Kate says. “We’re looking forward to growing our relationship, exploring ways to engage our staff, and learning how we, as a financial institution, can best serve our community members and local organizations.”

A group of smiling people wearing winter clothing stand in parking lot

Staff from Kindred Credit Union showed their support for our community and raised more than $2,000 for the Ray of Hope Community Centre by walking in the 2023 Coldest Night of the Year event.

Sparking support at Scotiabank

In November, leadership teams from Scotiabank branches in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge visited the ROHCC to learn about its services and programs.

“As an immigrant myself, I was struck by the welcoming atmosphere at the Community Centre,” says Branch Manager Karem Orellana.

Since that initial visit, Karem has become something of an ambassador for the ROHCC, encouraging Scotiabank staff to participate in food drives for the Marketplace, help distribute winter care packages, or walk on the Coldest Night.

“By supporting the Community Centre, we’re supporting our greater community,” she says.

Gifts with meaning

Karem explains how the bank’s employee giving platform, called Spark, empowers staff to make a difference in their communities. For every hour an employee volunteers, Scotiabank contributes a donation to a charity of the employee’s choice.

These philanthropic activities also create connections and camaraderie among employees. Recently, Scotiabank branches partnered with Project Impacting Lives to create and distribute winter care packages to guests. Karem was surprised and pleased to see how the event attracted volunteers from across Scotiabank’s local organization. “We had people from departments like IT, who aren’t necessarily involved in the branch structure. But they heard about the event, and they wanted to help.”

When we donate, we don’t always get the chance to experience what our gift truly means to the people who receive it,” Karem says. “But every time I go to the Community Centre, I hear guests’ stories and I start to build relationships. The more you learn about Ray of Hope, the more you want to be involved.”

A group of people smile as they gather around a sign reading "Coldest Night of the Year: It's cold out there"

CNOY team captains needed

Ray of Hope is looking for 80 team captains for the 2024 Coldest Night of the Year walk.

Join us on February 24, 2024 for the Coldest Night of the Year fundraising walk for the Ray of Hope Community Centre. It’s simple to get signed up:

  • Register and select Kitchener as your location
  • Start a team and give it a fun name
  • Choose 2 km or 5 km as your distance
  • Ask 8-80 of your friends, family or coworkers to join you (no team is too big or too small)
  • Get 5 or more donations each
  • Receive a thank you toque when you fundraise $150

The Coldest Nights of the Year logo appears against a white knitted background with gold, grey, turquoise and blue horizontal linesEvent Day details

4:00 pm: Meet – Check-in + Welcome at the Ray of Hope Community Centre.

5:00 pm: Move – Send-off for the 5km and 2 km walk

6:00 pm: Munch  – Soup and buns served at the Community Centre

7:00 pm: Mosey  – Goodbye and see you in 2025!

Have questions? See the FAQ page.

It’s cold out there but together, we can warm the coldest night!

A young woman with long hair looks lovingly toward the toddler in her arms who is smiling and clapping his hands

Help a neighbour in need

When you give, you make life a little easier for people in our community who are struggling with food insecurity. Thank you!

The Marketplace food hamper program continues to run low on all items and the following are especially needed:

  • baby food
  • baby formula
  • diapers – sizes 2 – 5

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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