The two Tim Hortons locations in Gravenhurst are gearing up for their Smile Cookie campaign and this year, the fundraising will benefit Muskoka Beechgrove Public School.
This year’s Smile Cookie program runs from Sept. 19 to 25. The Gravenhurst Tim Hortons locations have been participating in Smile Cookie for eight years. They started by supporting the 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 Hortons locations, said their team is excited to be back at it and supporting local education.
“Honestly, it’s such a privilege to be able to give back to this community,” Hrinkanic said. “We’ve worked with so many great partners for our Smile Cookie program, and they’ve been truly thankful. The money that the community has raised has gone such a long way to important causes throughout Gravenhurst.”
Their partnership with Muskoka Beechgrove is part of a four-year plan that Hrinkanic said will be announced at a later date. They don’t have a specific fundraising goal for this year’s efforts, but they hope it will create some positive buzz in the community and encourage people to rally together in support of Gravenhurst’s next generation.
After experiencing such a hard few years, Hrinkanic said it’s crucial for local children to see how their community comes together to support each other.
“We thought it was really important to go into our elementary schools in town,” she said. “Our kids have had a really hard time through this whole pandemic and I think for them, it’s important to have some new excitement happening within their schools, above and beyond what our teachers are doing for the kids.”
Lisa Salter, chair of the parent council at Muskoka Beechgrove, said being chosen for Smile Cookie came at the perfect time. The school has been working toward bettering their outdoor recreation areas, so the campaign will align perfectly with their fundraising efforts, which they’re planning to roll out in full force this September.
“We are super grateful for everything in advance that they are doing for the school and are looking forward to working with them as a team,” Salter said. “I know the teachers and some students are already starting to brainstorm ideas on how we can promote this fundraiser, and promote Tim Hortons, and give our appreciation properly for everything that they’re doing for us.”
Salter said the school already got basketball nets and did the tarmac painting, and while there are some other smaller additions on the way, the biggest piece of the puzzle is new playground equipment. There are three main areas that need improving, so they will be using the funds to spruce up each of the spaces.
They’re still determining exactly what the renovations will look like, but Salter said students, teachers and parents alike are excited to better the school and the community through the updated equipment.
“It’s been very difficult, especially during COVID, to have the kids stay busy with the limited equipment that was available to them to use,” Salter said. “To have something new and fun and fresh is going to be huge for everybody.”
To support Muskoka Beechgrove Public School through the Smile Cookie campaign, visit the Gravenhurst Tim Hortons locations at 150 Talisman Drive and 2329 Highway 11 South from Sept. 19 to 25.