Thanks to West Nipissing’s sweet tooth, Tim Hortons Smile Cookie Campaign has raised over $18,000 for the Horizon Women’s Centre.

It’s the second year in a row that the two local Tim Hortons franchises have supported the shelter.

Last year, West Nipissing showed its support with nearly $19,000 raised during the week.

The fundraiser is instrumental in the daily happenings at the Women’s Centre, and its director, Linda Lafantaisie Renaud, was honoured to be a part of it once again.

“$18,293 in total… Incredible! And this year, due to the pandemic, we weren’t able to get into the high schools, we didn’t go to Au Chateau… just imagine if we could have?! I am so happy with the money raised. The community support… it’s unbelievable!” said Lafantaisie Renaud.

The money gives the Centre the ability to give more to their clients.

“It’s such a relief. That’s exactly what it is; relief. We don’t have to worry now if our clients need medication or clothing. If the shelter needs a new appliance… if a resident needs to travel, if they can’t afford their diabetes medication while they’re here, if a woman and her child arrive during the middle of the night, we can purchase school supplies… It just helps us out so, so much.”

The money is also used to give the families a potential outing with other clients at the Centre.

“We’ve gone to Santa’s village before, things like that. It enables them to forget about everything for the day. We usually would go in groups… so they meet other people going through the same thing. It’s not as isolating. The children make new friends and acquaintances and they get to have fun. Sometimes with what they’ve all been through… fun is hard to come by.”

Lafantaisie Renaud says she is thankful to both Tim Hortons, the community, as well as her staff.

“I think people don’t really understand the amount of work that goes into a fundraiser like this. For example, every cookie we pre-sale we have to decorate. So we start around 9 am and would finish around 7:30 pm. My staff was incredible! Because we have an inspected kitchen here at the shelter, and all of them require food and safety training, we were able to decorate them right here. This year we also couldn’t have volunteers help us out because of the restrictions… so they all did overtime and rocked it!”

Over 18 thousand cookies in 7 days is a challenge on a variety of fronts.

“The extra work that goes into it from Tim Hortons staff as well is incredible. I appreciate all the cooks, managers, employees, and owners. They are just as all-in for this as we are. I am so thankful that 100% of the proceeds come back to us. Tim Hortons provides the dough, boxes, and icing throughout the fundraiser and that’s a lot of money. I appreciate that they do that not only for us but across Canada.”