By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on December 6, 2023.
Toby and Bernadine Boulet were all smiles on Tuesday when they saw the cheque that will go to the Green Shirt Foundation from proceeds of sales of the Tim Hortons Holiday Smile cookie campaign.
Surrounded by owners of the Tim Hortons franchises in the city, The Boulets took part in a photo opportunity with a giant novelty cheque for $43,178.87 which is being split between the Green Shirt Day’s national charity – The Canadian Transplant Association – and the Tim Hortons Foundation Camps.
The Boulet’s charity is getting $21,589.44 while the Tim Hortons Foundation Camps receives $21,589.43.
The money comes from sales of the Smile cookies at the city Tim Hortons franchises. Green Shirt Day was chosen as the local charity partner for the inaugural national holiday Smile Cookie Week that ran in November.
Cookies sold for $1.50 and the Boulets had a team of 120 volunteers decorating them. Sales were so strong, city franchises ran out of the holiday cookie dough and sold chocolate chip cookies for part of the week.
Among the cookie decorators were Bernadine Boulet’s Grade 2 class who enjoyed what their teacher called “probably one of the best field trips we’ve ever been on. It was amazing to watch these little seven-year-olds run a drive-through and do it very efficiently.”
“It has been quite the experience. You always go and buy the Tim Hortons Smile cookies and we got to be part of that this year so that was such a fun experience and we are very, very thankful for the kindness and the patience of the people who work at Tim Hortons for allowing us to be back behind the counter and to be in their way in their bit,” Bernadine told media at the Heritage Drive location in West Lethbridge.
“Just the exposure people got to see for Tim Hortons supporting Green Shirt Day is incredible because it made a bunch of conversations happen. That’s what we really want to happen – to have conversations happen so that people will go home and talk about organ donation. And if they are ever in the situation where that may happen” where they have to consider making a decision, they’ve already talked about it, Boulet said.
Toby Boulet said about 65 volunteers told him they want to help if Green Shirt Day is chosen again as a partner.
Toby said decorators put a lot of 27s – Logan Boulet’s jersey number – and smiles on the cookies.
“It was really the talk of the town” and created conversations about organ donations, he said.
Dave Lawlor, owner of the Centre City location on Scenic Drive South who spoke on behalf of the other franchise owners, said nobody had any idea what to expect with cookie sales.
His location set a goal to beat spring numbers “and I know that we did and the other stores didâ€¦this was amazing. We ran out of cookies unfortunately” and had to go back to chocolate for which he credits largely to the efforts of the Boulet family.
“It was talked about more than our normal Smile cookie program so that grassroots really talks about what we’re all about, not just Tim Hortons in Lethbridge but Tim Hortons in general. It’s the grassroots and giving it back to where it really matters most,” Lawlor said.
He said partnering with Green Shirt Day made sense.
“It was a feel good moment.”
Rob Eatough, executive director of the Tim Hortons Foundations Camp, said 2024 will be the 50th year of the organization serving under-served Canadian youth and he thanked everyone for their work in the Smile cookie initiative across the country.
“It’s a beautiful brand, it’s a remarkable brand” which makes a difference in communities, he said.
Green Shirt Day “is a critical organization that’s going to be receiving funds but also awareness,” Eatough added.
The funds will also help the foundation broaden its impact, he said.
Post COVID, needs have increased “in a very big way. The funds for us are going to be critical to welcome more kids into our program, broaden our reach and deepen our impact with those families,” Eatough said.
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