Cookies for a great cause

MFRC beneficiary of Holiday Smile Cookie campaign

November 15, 2023, 10:26 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Smile Cookie Campaign in the spring raised over $34,000 for MacLeod Elementary School. This Christmas, part of the cookie sale proceeds will go toward the Moosomin Family Resource Centre.

A regular morning ritual for many people includes that magical bean juice called coffee to kickstart their day. It might take the form of a cruise to the local drive-thru to obtain that mystical drink and one local restaurant is offering a simple add-on to the order, sure to put a smile on your face.

Tim Horton’s is launching their inaugural Holiday Smile Cookie nation-wide campaign this week with all local funds collected between Nov. 13 and 19 devoted to support the Moosomin Family Resource Centre.

“They’ve been great so far to work with and we think we have an exciting week ahead,” said Moosomin Tim Horton’s Owner Greg Crisanti. “They’re doing lots for our community and surrounding communities.”

Now one may think that the simple purchase of a cookie as a minor expense, but all those Smiles add up - evidenced by the spring campaign where Moosomin sales were top in the province. Back in May, the regular Smile Cookie campaign raised over $34,000 for the MacLeod Elementary School Playground Fund, placing the Moosomin Tim Horton’s as the eighth highest fundraiser across all stores in Canada.

“You know, it always goes back to our community,’ Crisanti said of the support. “Of course, it’s the team where they’re making a lot of the cookies, but we have a great volunteer base in our community. We really couldn’t do it without the support of the community, our partners and of course everyone that’s purchasing our cookies throughout the week.”

The excitement is also mounting over at the MFRC, who have a full slate of volunteers ready to participate.

“We’re super grateful to Tim Horton’s for this opportunity,” said Crystal Leshchyshyn, board chair. “It’s amazing how the community has responded. We have shifts going from Monday to Saturday with shifts being morning to afternoon, about two hours in duration. It has been very easy to fill those slots, with people on standby in case more help is needed throughout the day.”

Response was quick when the call went out for volunteers to help with the Holiday Smile Cookie campaign.

“It’s a project that brings community together,” Leshchyshyn said. “We have some volunteers that don’t even utilize the centre, but have been in past campaigns and had fun, or just want to support the Resource Centre and the work that is done here.”

Proceeds going to nutrition program
A local non-profit since 2002, the MFRC plans use the proceeds of the campaign to upgrade their kitchen facility and further enhance the nutrition program offered. The nutrition-based programming offered at MFRC also helps with the ever-mounting issue of food security.

“Things were difficult during COVID, but even more post-pandemic,” MFRC Program Coordinator Sheryl Willms-Bromm said. “The need is even greater. We try to fill the gap in working together with our local food bank and having the opportunity for these kids to have a snack; to extend the resources that they have at home.”

The programs at MFRC also introduce children to foods they may have not encountered very often. Leshchyshyn gave the example of a recent Creative Little Chefs class where snacks were made using celery, kiwi and apples.

“It gives children the opportunity to try things, and if they don’t like it, then parents feel like they’re not wasting it,” she said.“It gives families the opportunity to explore different foods.”

With a focus on early childhood development, the MFRC works with families that have children up to age 12. In addition to the nutrition program, they also target literacy, helping children get ready for school and offering informal support to families. The vast majority (90 per cent) of programming is free of charge.

Leshchyshyn noted that it’s not uncommon to see former participants of the MFRC bring their own children through the doors, or even parents from 20 years ago with their grandchildren.

“We’re so blessed to be in such a giving community, such big hearts,” she said. “We all work together and do our best to make our community as wonderful as it is.”