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The cookies had smiles and so will hundreds of children this Christmas.
On Wednesday franchisees from the city’s Tim Hortons outlets presented Toys for Tots co-chairman Bob Vander Ploeg with a cheque for $32,707, the end result of highly successful smile cookie campaign that outpaced all but one participating community in Canada.
Christine Youngs, who co-owns three Tim Hortons outlets in Thunder Bay, attributes the success to the city’s giving nature.
The firefighters, who have organized Toys for Tots for more than a half century, also lent a helping hand to this year’s campaign.
“They came out in their bunker boots at the drive through and some of the customers really like that. And it shows the support behind us, helping out. Some were in the kitchen helping prepare the cookies and put the smiley faces on, because it’s a big production,” Youngs said.
“It’s a huge change in our restaurants that week.”
The cause is the other main reason they sold so many smile cookies, she added, noting they collected $28,000 last year and have handed over $150,000 over the past eight years.
Vander Ploeg said the support is just amazing.
“We’re extremely grateful for the support from the community.”
Vander Ploeg said Toys for Tots, which provides a toy to children who otherwise might go without at Christmas, a donation conducted in conjunction with the annual Christmas Cheer campaign.
Last year they took in about $150,000, and the need is just as great this year.
“It’s a very low-cost charity, so people are confident that the money is going to where it needs to go, and where it needs to go is the kids,” he said.
“We’re using this money to buy Christmas gifts for kids at Christmastime.”
Now the shopping can begin.
“We have to look after children from infants right up to 16 years old, so obviously that’s a broad spectrum and it’s boys and girls as well. The older kids may get clothing items or fashion items instead of actual toys.
“Younger kids, pre-schoolers and toddlers will get age appropriate toys, and we have a committee that makes sure the toys are appropriate for the age of the children.”
Toys for Tots will officially launch their Christmas campaign next month and will be stationed at Intercity Shopping Centre between then and the holidays.
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