They didn’t get much notice, but the Ashcroft and District Lions Club has leapt into action to bring smiles to many, and is spearheading the local Tim Hortons Holiday Smile Cookie campaign, which runs from Nov. 13 to 19.
“It was very short notice,” says Lions club secretary and Smile Cookie chair Sue Peters. “We found out [about the campaign] on Nov. 10, when [Ashcroft Travel Centre manager] Jason Blain contacted us about it.
“I said that I didn’t know what we could do on such short notice, but said I’d put it out to our members and see what response we got. I talked to others on Nov. 11 and we decided we had enough volunteers.”
The Lions have been involved with the annual Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign six times in the last seven years, most recently in May of this year. That campaign was also something of a scramble, with Tim Hortons changing the annual campaign from September to May with little warning.
Now the company has launched Holiday Smile Cookies. Unlike the regular campaign, where 100 per cent of the funds raised go to a local organization or cause, 50 per cent of the Holiday Cookie funds will go to Tim Hortons Foundation Camps, which provide thousands of under-served youth with an opportunity to discover their true potential through a life-changing, multi-year, leadership development experience.
The other 50 per cent of the funds from local sales of the cookies will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to children in B.C. and across Canada with critical illnesses. Peters says that the local Lions are happy to help out.
“Given that Tim Hortons has been so supportive of us in the past, the Lions are helping them out with the Holiday Smile Cookies campaign. We’re doing it as a service project, not as a fundraiser for the local club. A huge part of Lions is service. It’s in our motto: ‘We serve’.”
Past local recipients of funds from the Smile Cookie campaign have included minor sports clubs, the Honour Ranch, the Christmas Hamper program, and the South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society food bank.
Peters says that this year’s May campaign was interrupted by the flooding in the region, but they still raised $3,654.50, which will go towards building up the club’s project account to allow them to give out more money in the community.
She adds that while they won’t be able to do all the pre-campaign activities they normally would — such as distributing letters and order forms to area businesses and getting the word out on social media — the club expects that the community will rally around.
“We always get a tremendous response from the surrounding community, and we’re sure people will come out and buy cookies and support the campaign. Local people always support us in great numbers, and we’ve already had people say ‘Let us know when you’re going to be there,’ even in the short time that we’ve been talking about it.”
Volunteers from the club will be at the Tim Hortons at the Ashcroft Travel Centre from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. every day through Nov. 19 selling Holiday Smile Cookies, which are a white chocolate sugar cookie with red and green sprinkles baked into it. Each one is hand-decorated with a white smile, and sells for $1.50 plus tax.
Large orders will be accepted, but Peters advises people looking for several dozen at a time to contact Tim Hortons directly and give them advance warning. The Tim Hortons at the Travel Centre can be reached at (250) 453-9539, and is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
“We appreciate that Tim Hortons always looks to us to do the Smile Cookie campaign, and we really appreciate it,” says Peters. “If we hadn’t done it so many times and had so much already in place it would be harder to jump in and do it.”