Say it with a Smile!
It’s that time of year again, when the Smile Cookies campaign takes place at Tim Hortons branches across Canada. The Ashcroft and District Lions Club is once more partnering with the Timmies at the Ashcroft Travel Centre, to raise funds for local non-profits; the fourth time in five years that the club has taken part in the annual program.
In the past the local Lions have raised thousands of dollars for the South Cariboo Minor Hockey Association (in 2017), and to help local youth Robert Belin purchase new hearing aids in 2019, after the then 13-year-old Ashcroft resident outgrew his previous set (which had been purchased for him by the Lions when he was six). The 2019 campaign was so successful that enough money was raised to set aside some to purchase Belin a third set of hearing aids when he needs them, and make a donation to the local Sea Cadets Corps, of which Belin is a member.
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. This year, the Lions have chosen three local minor sports — hockey, soccer, and softball — as the recipients of any funds raised.
Lions Club president Sue Peters says the club wanted to focus on something to do with kids again this year. “We threw some ideas around with Damian Couture and Starla Johnston at Tim Hortons and came up with the idea that we wanted to do something for kids. We landed on minor sports, mostly because of the challenges of COVID-19 last year, with teams not being able to play or fundraise.
“The response from the sports organizations has been very positive about the route we’ve gone. They didn’t know where to start this year, so this is a great way for them to start to get back to some kind of normal for the kids.”
Last year the Lions had to remain outside the Tim Hortons because of COVID-19 regulations, and they sold tickets for cookies. Peters says that the club is hoping to be back indoors during this campaign, but if there are limits to indoor gatherings they might have to remain outside like last year. “Inside is much easier, because people go straight into the line. We’re there harassing every single person who walks in the door, encouraging them to buy cookies.”
Peters adds that order sheets have been printed, so that people, organizations, and businesses can order cookies for themselves or others and “pay it forward”. “The ones who take part buy considerable numbers; several dozen cookies, not just one or two. It’s a reminder that it’s happening. And we’ve always had great support from the community and from businesses.”
The Smile Cookies campaign runs from Sept. 13 to Sept. 19, and members of the Ashcroft and District Lions Club will be at the Tim Hortons at the Travel Centre on Highway 1 every day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., greeting people (with a smile, of course) and raising awareness about the campaign. The sweet treats are $1 each, and 100 per cent of the funds raised will go to support local sports organizations.