Shining a Ray of Hope on Philly Neighborhoods

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RayofHopeEach spring, Main Line Unitarian Church organizes an all-church service event focused on improving the local environment and communities. This year, the congregation teamed up with The Ray of Hope Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing hope to those who cannot afford urgently needed home repairs.

On April 13, two teams from MLUC spent the day in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia, working together with Ray of Hope volunteers and local residents to clean up several lots along Cambria St. in anticipation of upcoming home repairs. Church members of all ages got involved, instilling in our youngest members the importance of giving back and helping others. See the photo album on Facebook.

In addition to working with The Ray of Hope Project for the spring service event, Main Line Unitarian also chose the organization as its Offering Outreach recipient for the month of April. The program directs half of the congregation’s Sunday collection to a different charity or non-profit each month whose values correspond with those of Unitarian Universalism.

The Ray of Hope Project was co-founded by Raymond Gant in 2002 to address one of the many serious needs for Philadelphia communities—the rehabilitation of damaged and unsafe homes. The work of Ray, his contractors, and his volunteers transforms lives and neighborhoods, providing a sense of hope and unity.

Gant and The Ray of Hope Project were recently featured in the book Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans Changing the World One Nonprofit at a Time (Welcome Books, 2012). In it, Gant shares his story, including some tough times and bad choices, and details the reasons he now works for positive change.

Rev. Morgan R. McLean visited Gant to present him with a donation of $1,723. She said, “Ray is a shining example of someone accomplishing great things once they commit themselves to helping others. His work of restoring hope to homeowners and communities is exactly what Philadelphia needs more of.”

To support The Ray of Hope Project, visit

Photo: Rev. Morgan R. McLean, along with MLUC member Bruce Pappas, presents Raymond Gant, President of The Ray of Hope Project, with a donation check in the amount of $1,723. The Ray of Hope Project rehabilitates unsafe homes through a network of contractors and volunteers.