There are smiles on the faces of everyone involved with three local sports organizations, thanks to Tim Hortons and the Ashcroft and District Lions Club.
In September the local Lions once again partnered with Tim Hortons at the Travel Centre during the Smile Cookies campaign, selling cookies to benefit local groups. All proceeds from the sales stay local, and this year funds were raised to help the Thompson-Cariboo Minor Hockey Association (TCMHA), the South Cariboo Minor Soccer Association, and the Cache Creek softball league.
Members of the Lions club were at the Travel Centre Timmies every day from Sept. 13 to 19 , selling cookies at $1 each. When the delicious chocolate-chip-flavoured dust had settled, the group had raised $5,720 from cookie sales, which the club rounded up to $6,000 so that each organization would receive an even $2,000.
“Tim Hortons loves to raise money so that it stays somewhere local for our children,” says Tim Hortons manager Starla Dixon. “We love Smile Cookies, and love being a part of our local community.”
This is the fourth time in five years that the Ashcroft and District Lions have taken part in the Smile Cookies campaign. Last year, despite the challenges of COVID-19, the club raised more than $4,800 to benefit The Equality Project, the South Cariboo E. Fry Society Food Bank, and the Community Resource Society’s Christmas Hamper program, with the Lions Club adding nearly $400 to the total.
Lions club president Sue Peters says that they meet every year with representatives from Tim Horton’s to discuss where they want the funds raised to go.
“We looked at a number of different things, but realized that sports had been put on hold for COVID-19 and their fundraising activities were hampered,” she says. “We wanted to help the kids get back to being active, so we approached the three organized community sports groups in the area and came up with hockey, soccer, and softball as a focus.”
“We appreciate all the work that the volunteers on the Smile Cookies campaign do,” says Kris Billy, president of TCMHA. “I want to acknowledge all the people who have supported the campaign and who bought cookies. I look forward to continuing this in the future and appreciate all that the Lions do for the community.”
Peters says that this year’s campaign was a bit easier than in 2020.
“More people were moving around this year, and COVID restrictions were easier. Last year we had t0 be outside the store, but this year we could be inside and chat with people. And there were more people in the store, with restrictions eased.”
She adds that they got a lot of support from local businesses and residents.
“I deliver letters [about the campaign] to every business in Cache Creek and Ashcroft, and we get great support from the businesses and organizations in the area. One person phoned up and said ‘Take cookies to the ambulance station and I’ll pay for them.’ Some businesses bought a dozen cookies for each of their employees.”
People also gravitate towards the Lions club members when they see them in the community, Peters says.
“Whenever we’re out in our vests, people come to see what we’re doing. We have a good local reputation, and people want to see what we’re doing. We get a pretty solid group of supporters, and the community gets behind us in such a big way: not just with Smile Cookies, but with everything we do. We couldn’t do it without them.”
Peters says the local Lions club is a “small but mighty” group.
“We had two people at Tim Hortons from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day. That’s a lot of hours from our club, but they wholeheartedly support it, and they’re good at getting people to buy cookies. I’m so proud of our club; they get out there and support absolutely everything.
“And huge kudos to Tim Hortons. More than $12 million was raised Canada-wide through Smile Cookies this year. One hundred per cent of the money stays in the community, so it’s a win-win for everybody.”