Hope in Action
As the days grow colder, we are grateful for the support that has allowed us to extend the Community Centre’s weekday hours. We now operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., offering a safe place for people who often have nowhere else to go.
Through your generous gifts of money and time, you feed hungry people and provide them with other vital services. In this issue, see how your support of Morning Glory Café and Catering helped a young woman escape an abusive relationship. Then learn about the growing need for meal teams and how you can help. Thank you for bringing peace and well-being to our guests!
From confined to confident: Sumayya’s story
Imagine being a new Canadian, trapped in an abusive marriage, with your family thousands of miles away. That was Sumayya’s situation a year ago.
With the help of a counsellor who connected her with community support, Sumayya was able to leave her abusive relationship behind. She found an apartment and part-time work. But after paying rent and groceries, she had only $80 in her bank account.
“I knew I was the only person who could help myself,” she says.
Thanks to the Employment Services Program, funded in part by your support of Ray of Hope’s Morning Glory Café and Catering, Sumayya found career training, a support network and a job placement where she felt safe and secure. Now she’s creating a new life for herself.
Despite having experienced domestic abuse, Sumayya’s strength of character and determination shone through in the program.
“She had a strong voice in our discussions and was a wonderful addition to the group. Her work was always done well and submitted on time,” her Employment Services counsellor says.
When the pandemic forced the program to move online, Sumayya adjusted well to the new format. She even suggested setting up Zoom rooms so the participants could connect and work together on their assignments.
Sumayya completed her internal placement at Morning Glory Café and Catering, where she excelled.
“I built some amazing relationships with other participants at Morning Glory. There is a strong sense of purpose when you work there and the experience made me more grateful for the blessings I have,” she says.
For her external placement, Sumayya took a position at Shoppers Drug Mart. She’s still working there today.
The financial security her job provides has allowed Sumayya to plan for the future. She hopes to return to school next year and pursue a career in health care. Program staff continue to support Sumayya by helping her apply to college.
“The Employment Services program helped me secure a position in a safe environment. Most importantly, she says, “it helped me to gain my confidence back.”
Through your support, you allow Ray of Hope to create programs that help young people build both skills and faith in themselves. Thank you for investing in their future.
Team up to fight hunger
“This is the first thing I’ve eaten since yesterday morning,” Greg* says as he sits at a table inside the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC). He explains that his low wages mean he often has to choose between buying food or paying rent. “It’s good to come here and get a hot supper, especially now the weather’s turning cold.”
Lately, though, that warm meal that Greg looks forward to has become harder and harder to provide. COVID-19 has drastically reduced the number of volunteer meal teams who are able to commit to this vital work. But caring people like you can ensure vulnerable neighbours don’t go hungry this winter.
ROHCC meal team volunteers are groups from local churches, businesses, schools, sports teams and more. What they all share is a mission to feed people who might otherwise go without.
Each team commits to buying and preparing enough food for approximately 150-200 people. The meals that teams choose to serve can range from soup and sandwiches to roast beef dinners.
Tom Arndt is the meal team coordinator at Grandview Church in Kitchener. A long-time supporter of Morning Glory Catering and the Employment Services program, he took on the coordinator role when Grandview decided to provide a regular meal team several years ago. Church members now serve at the ROHCC each month.
Tom explains that this ministry aligns with Grandview’s three-fold mission: Love God. Love God’s People. Love God’s World. “Providing meals is one way to love God’s people that has an immediate impact,” he says.
Are you part of a group that might be interested in providing a meal? If so, there’s lots of support available. Ray of Hope staff supply sample recipes and can help teams calculate how much food is needed. Teams are also welcome to visit the kitchen to see the equipment that’s available.
“We always get a sense of gratitude from staff and guests when we’re at the Community Centre,” Tom says. “It’s a safe, well-managed environment.”
Many of the people Ray of Hope serves have health conditions that make them vulnerable to COVID-19. To protect these people, every volunteer and staff member must wear a mask while in the Community Centre; in addition, all staff and volunteers must be fully vaccinated.
“I would encourage anyone who is interested to contact Ray of Hope to learn more,” Tom says. “There’s lots of flexibility and you can decide the level of commitment.”
You can prepare and serve a meal with just 6 to 8 people, and you can choose how often you visit, from once a month to once a year.
“The effort is well worth it and isn’t overwhelming. You don’t get burnt out. I’m not that comfortable in the kitchen, but I’ve learned I can do it,” Tom adds with a laugh.
“This is a very fulfilling ministry. It’s an opportunity to fulfil a basic need. You see guests’ gratitude and know that you are helping them in a practical way.”
Not part of a group but would still like to help? Individual volunteers are needed to prep and serve meals on an occasional, call-in basis. Please complete the online application form on our volunteer web page.
*Name has been changed
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 has put out a special call for these items:
*Thanks to you, we have a large supply of tomato soup and tuna. Other canned soups or canned fish/meat are welcome!
For more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also feed hungry people through our secure donation page.