After another successful Smile Cookie campaign, the Gravenhurst Tim Hortons presented the local Salvation Army with a cheque for $8,000 on Thursday, helping the food bank to restock their shelves as need in the community rises.
The Smile Cookie campaign, an annual initiative that raised a record $10.5 million this year for charities across the country, ran from Sept. 14 to 20. The full $1 cost of each cookie purchased at the Tim Hortons locations on Talisman Drive and Highway 11 was donated directly to the food bank. Ashley Hrinkanic, general manager and operator of the two Gravenhurst Tim Hortons locations, said that their team has worked with the Salvation Army food bank for many years and felt it was important to support them during a time that’s been exceptionally difficult for so many.
“It feels incredible to be able to provide the Salvation Army $8,000 through the support of our community, especially during such an unprecedented time,” Hrinkanic said. “To our wonderful community of Gravenhurst, thank you for all your continued support during our Smile Cookie week.”
Salvation Army Lieutenant Kam Robinson said the food bank has been distributing more food than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, and they’re finding their stock is depleting. The funds raised through Smile Cookie will go a long way in replenishing their supply of food and getting the staple items that locals need.
“Those funds will directly go to buying food for our shelves, nothing else,” Robinson said. “I think that’s important because it’s neighbours wanting to be good neighbours to each other and that’s what is happening. It’s going directly to getting our stock levels up, which is going to be more important considering the season we’re getting into and the times that we have right now.”
Support from the community is always critical to the food bank’s operations, but it’s especially true this year. The food bank sees an uptick in visitors every year during back to school as well as heading into the winter season when the holidays approach and seasonal workers leave their summer jobs, but COVID has increased the community’s need for food even more.
The pandemic also forced the Salvation Army to close their thrift store, which funds the food bank, for months and has led to a drop in food drives and fundraisers, making initiatives like the Smile Cookie campaign more important than ever. The fact that the community came out in support of the food bank means a lot to the team at the Gravenhurst Salvation Army and it’s something they got to witness firsthand.
“We got to participate in it, which was really heartwarming to see kids with their parents coming into the drive thru saying, ‘I’ve been waiting for this for days!’” Robinson said. “It’s also really cool because the funds stay right in the community, so you’re seeing your community support itself.”
Robinson said she and her team want to thank the community from the bottoms of their hearts for supporting the food bank in this way as well as the Gravenhurst Tim Hortons locations for choosing them as the recipient for this year’s funding.
“We’re just so honoured and humbled and so grateful to be able to serve in the community directly this way,” she said. “To be able to everyday talk to people who need food security, who just need a hand to help them, and be able to do that because other people in the community want that for others, it’s just amazing.”
Gravenhurst Tim Hortons To Support Salvation Army Food Bank Through Smile Cookie Initiative
[…] Gravenhurst Curling Club and have fundraised for other local causes like Muskoka Victim Services, the Salvation Army Food Bank and Ryde Community Co-op in the years since. Ashley Hrinkanic, operator of the two Gravenhurst Tim […]