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Smile Cookies on sale through Sunday

The campaign raised about $80,000 in support of the George Jeffrey Children's Centre and Toys for Tots last year.

THUNDER BAY – Smile Cookies are back this week, and their impact goes far beyond their $1 cost.

Last year, the annual Tim Hortons campaign raised nearly $80,000 in Thunder Bay alone, money that was evenly split between the Thunder Bay Professional Firefighters’ Association’s Toys for Tots campaign and the George Jeffrey Children’s Centre.

It’s a win-win for everyone, said TBPFA’s Paul Penna, who helps organize local firefighters to volunteer their time during the Christmas season each year to collect money to help ensure children who otherwise might go without find something under the Christmas tree.

“It’s really hard to describe how important and how great it is. The kick-start we get each and every year from the Tim [Hortons] owners to start our campaign in November is absolutely incredible,” Penna said.

“Last year it was $40,000. What can you say? We thought we were in trouble the last few years with COVID, but the way Tim’s Smile Cookie campaign kick-started us, it drove us to success, really.”

Toys for Tots has been a staple of the holiday giving landscape for decades, these days usually looking to raise in the neighbourhood of $150,000 to meet the needs of area children at Christmastime, working in partnership with the equally important Christmas Cheer program.

“It’s obviously huge that corporate does it and they have a heart for children,” Penna said. “Then it goes right down to the owners here in Thunder Bay, who are so on board making the cookie campaign a success. All the employees are great, as well, and the community, they come through and they’re always buying cookies.”

Penna said cookie sales continue to grow each year, a statistic made even more impressive by the fact the city’s population growth is stagnant.

“It seems like it climbs every year, it really does,” he said.

All proceeds from the Smile Cookie sales, which conclude on Sunday, are turned over to the two local charities.

Cookies are available at all Thunder Bay Tim Hortons locations.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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