While the holiday season looked a little different this year for all of us – this winter season has brought an unprecedented challenge for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians experiencing homelessness across our country. This fact that is not lost on Rogers Service Assurance Manager Rino Gombocz, who works to help lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on this vulnerable group in his community each and every day.
Five years ago, Rino began working from the Rogers Newmarket office. During his early morning commute, he noticed a large number of homeless people would visit Inn from the Cold, a non-profit organization that provides a safe shelter for those living without homes.
Compelled to lend a helping hand, Rino reached out to the organization to learn how he could get involved. “The shelter said they needed boots, coats, blankets and other warm items for winter,” he said. “So, I began clothing drives, getting everyone in the office to donate gently used items that would help.”
What began as a local clothing drive, quickly turned into a GTA-wide rallying cry for friends, families and colleagues to donate what they could, whether that be time, food, money, or clothing. Rino’s colleagues were inspired by the organizations’ mission and Rino’s desire to do more for his community, and they began volunteering their time at the shelter home on Friday nights where they provide weekly home-cooked meals to around 150 community members.
Five years on, Rino has expanded his work with Inn from the Cold to now provide resources and employment opportunities to community members looking to build their life skills during challenging times. This holiday season, Rino shared his passion for giving with his wife and two children, who helped him serve the shelter’s Christmas Dinner and plans to join hundreds of other Canadians on February 20th in support of “Coldest Night of the Year”, an annual family-friendly and COVID-safe walk to raise funds for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger.
As we reflect on the year that was and our hopes for 2021, Rino’s story reminds us of the positive and lasting impacts of giving back, both for the individual and on our communities. “There is nothing more gratifying than the experience of giving back. If you are interested in volunteering, I recommend that you find something you are passionate about and go all in.”
Whether it’s a kind word or a helping hand, we all can play a part in helping our neighbours this year. And the actions of caring community members across our country – like Rino – can provide a light of hope to someone in need and warm a cold winter night.
Supporting individual community contributions like Rino’s.
One of the ways Rogers is helping to make a better Canada possible.