Closeup of an older man wearing a knitted cap
May 2024

Hope in Action

Many people know Ray of Hope for our meal program that feeds hundreds of people, 365 days a year. But that’s just one way we care for guests. In this issue, read about our outreach program and coordinator Daniel, who uses his own experiences on the street to connect with guests and help them access life-changing resources. It’s just one of the many initiatives your support makes possible — thank you!

Silhouette of two hands reaching for each other

From addiction to advocacy

Daniel Haner’s personal journey shapes his work in Ray of Hope’s outreach program

Daniel Haner will never forget the day he saw a distressed man running through traffic on Victoria Street in downtown Kitchener. As he looked for help for the man, Daniel was struck by the homelessness, addiction and poverty he saw around him.

“The Lord opened my eyes. I realized I needed to do something to help.”

That event sparked Daniel’s mission to serve people in need and eventually brought him to the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC). Now, he draws on his journey of faith and recovery to support guests through the ROHCC’s outreach program.

Listening to God’s call

Daniel began using substances when he was only 13. As time went on, he “graduated” to harder drugs. He found himself facing homelessness and struggling to stay off the streets. Despite these challenges, Daniel still managed to complete several college and university courses, move from Kitchener-Waterloo to Alberta and become a successful hairstylist. However, he continued to use alcohol and cocaine and began to feel his life spiralling out of control.

During these dark days, Daniel felt God reaching out to him. “I used to regularly pass by a church and say to myself, ‘Someday, I’m going to go in there.’ Then I’d answer ‘Yeah, when’s that gonna be?’”

God kept calling and Daniel began to listen. He became a Christian and returned to Kitchener. But with the door shut on his past, he wondered what he was going to do with this new life. Then came that day on Victoria Street.

Speaking for the forgotten

Shortly after his encounter with the man in traffic, Daniel began walking around downtown Kitchener in the evenings, connecting with people who needed assistance.

He launched a program to provide clothes, meals and information about support programs and shelters. Perhaps even more importantly, Daniel offered understanding and a willingness to advocate for people whom society often forgets.

“I found that without drugs, I could speak and be heard,” he says.

The connections Daniel built led to work at a local warming centre and then to Ray of Hope. As Outreach/Services Coordinator, Daniel helps guests access vital resources offered by both Ray of Hope and partner agencies. The goal of the outreach program is to help guests begin to transform their lives.

Sharing mercy, transforming lives

“Ray of Hope is about much more than meals. The staff and volunteers here are working toward change,” Daniel says.

He mentions a young father whose experiences with trauma and domestic violence left him with severe anxiety that contributed to the loss of his Ontario Works benefits.

Through the outreach program, Daniel helped the man gather relevant documents so his benefits could be reinstated. With Daniel’s assistance, the man entered counselling and is in the process of finding affordable housing. These positive steps will allow him to build a stable future for himself and his daughter.

Daniel says that the most important part of his role is to build trusting relationships, allowing guests to truly be seen and listened to with compassion and without judgment. And he’s proud to share Christ’s love with guests who are open to hearing the message.

“God extended grace and mercy to me. The Lord kept me alive. Whatever I can do to help people, I’ll do.”

Through your support of Ray of Hope Community Centre programs, you give guests tools and support to build a hopeful future. To help today, please use this secure donation form and direct your gift to the Community Centre/Meal Program. Thank you!

Thank you, Beth, the voice behind Hope in Action 

In this issue of Hope in Action, we express our deepest gratitude to Beth Bohnert, who has been the creative force behind our monthly newsletter for nine years. Beth’s insightful writing has not only shared our vision but has also sparked a community bound by hope.

As Beth steps away from her role, we honour her enduring impact. Her words have been a catalyst for change, embodying the spirit of Ray of Hope. We thank Beth for her unwavering dedication and the countless stories that have inspired us all.

Beth, your legacy will continue to guide Hope in Action. Thank you for every ray of hope you’ve shared.



Volunteer Appreciation Week

We celebrated Ray of Hope’s volunteers during Volunteer Appreciation Week, which ran from April 14-21. Our theme was Chip, Chip, Hooray and we served freshly made cookies to thank our faithful, dedicated volunteers. “Chip, chip, hooray” to the 1,500 volunteers who contributed more than 19,000 hours to Ray of Hope this past year! We couldn’t do it without you.

Graph showing the top 5 reasons to support Ray of Hope. as a monthly donor: Better budgeting, Convenience, Flexibility, Simplicity, and Impact.

Hope Builders

Join our dedicated community of Hope Builders and support Ray of Hope with monthly donations. Your consistent contributions ensure a lasting impact, offering a regular and convenient way to donate within your budget. Donate here.

 A young Southeast Asian man stands in front of a chain link fence

Help a neighbour in need

You can help make life a little easier for people in our community who are struggling with food insecurity and other challenges. Thank you!

We have a special need for these items:

  • Hygiene items – razors, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, deodorant, toilet paper, underwear (new packs, all sizes)
  • Food  – school-safe snacks, canned beans, canned veggies, pasta sauce, canned fruit, cereals, baking items, etc.
  • Baby care – diapers (sizes 2-5), formula, baby food

For more information, please contact us at



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