The Gravenhurst Tim Hortons locations are offering Holiday Smile Cookies from Nov. 13 to 19 in support of the Salvation Army Food Bank and Tim Hortons Foundation Camps.
Ashley Hrinkanic, operator of the Gravenhurst Tim Hortons locations, said the holiday campaign is expanding after being tested in smaller markets. The cookies with red and green sprinkles baked in come with white chocolate chunks and a smile for $1.50 plus tax. Half of the proceeds go toward Tims Camps and the other half goes toward a partnership chosen by store owners, so it allows Hrinkanic and her team to partner with a community organization right before the holidays.
“We have so much fun during our regular Smile Cookie program, so when we had announced to our team there’s a second one coming, of course, all the smiles started,” she said. “There’s lots of ideas going around on who to reach out to and making sure that we’ve got the staff on hand and the quantities that we need, so everyone’s excited.”
Tim Hortons Foundation Camps give store owners the chance to send kids from low-income families to seven camps across Canada and the US. The organization also offers leadership and outreach opportunities for young people in schools and online.
“We have our donation boxes set up at all of our locations and, of course, we have Camp Day every year that we participate in,” she said. “This is just another opportunity to be able to help the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation as well as a partnership within our community.”
The Tim Hortons team enjoyed working with the Salvation Army Food Bank for the regular Smile Cookie campaign in 2020, so it was an easy choice for the holiday fundraiser. The $8,000 they raised went directly to buying food for their shelves, so it made a major difference during the increased need caused by COVID.
“Gearing up for the holiday season, we understand that food banks around the province are experiencing low volumes and are really looking for any assistance within the communities, so it was a no-brainer for us to partner with them,” Hrinkanic said.
Emily Gribbin, community outreach coordinator at the Gravenhurst Salvation Army, said she has high hopes for the holiday fundraiser. It’s a busy time at the food bank, to say the least, so they were thrilled to hear the news of the campaign.
“We were honestly ecstatic,” Gribbin said. “We were just so happy to be chosen, and we want to make sure we can help make the campaign as successful as possible because the hunger situation is a very real issue here.”
When Gribbin started in her role eight months ago, she was serving an average of about 80 families a month. Now, she’s up to 110 families a month, and at Christmas, they expect the need to nearly triple.
Buying a Smile Cookie means providing a financial contribution that allows the team at the food bank to buy exactly what they need for their clients.
“We have a lot of hungry people and we just need to feed them, essentially, so everything is much appreciated,” she said. “The financial donations definitely help because we can buy perishable food items that people aren’t going to donate… like milk and bread.”
While buying a cookie for $1.50 may not seem like much, each one helps tremendously, Gribbin said. Some local families can’t afford groceries, much less cookies or Christmas gifts, so it can be a particularly hard time of year for people.
“We have clients that are homeless and they’re cold, and we provide support for them in that way as well, not even just the food bank,” Gribbin said. “We also provide support for people that need warm clothes and stuff like that, so anything helps, especially in the colder season.”
To support the Gravenhurst Salvation Army Food Bank and Tims Camps through the Holiday Smile Cookie campaign, visit the Gravenhurst Tim Hortons locations at 150 Talisman Drive and 2329 Highway 11 South from Nov. 13 to 19.