by Carolina Di Giulio

Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) Foundation is once again partnering with participating Tim Hortons locations in the city for their annual Smile Cookie fundraiser. From Sept. 17-23, you can purchase a smile cookie at your nearest Tim Hortons for one dollar plus taxes to help support the hospital.

Owners of two Tim Hortons, one in Markham and one in Stouffville, joined with Foundation representatives to mark the start of the campaign. Last year, sales of the cheerful cookies raised $41,000 for the local hospital. Since 2006, the partnership has helped purchase medical equipment, patient beds and technology updates. 

“(The) government doesn’t fund all equipment needs,” said Allan Bell, Vice President, Community Relations & Corporate Partnerships. “So, we rely on community support to drive innovation, update technology and purchase hospital equipment to ensure patient care.”

Proceeds from the cookie sales go to more than 500 charities and organizations across Canada. Last year, the campaign raised more than $6.5 million nationally.

Heather King, owner of the Stouffville Tim Hortons for 25 years, has donated the proceeds from the Smile Cookie fundraiser to programs such as the Sunrise Crisis Pregnancy Centre and youth sport programs in the community.

“I’m really glad to be supporting a local charity benefiting the Markham Stouffville Hospital this year,” said Mike Forbes, who owns the Tim Hortons franchise at Markham Road and Major Mackenzie Drive. Forbes returned to Markham recently from Ohio, where he operated another Tim Hortons franchise. It’s the first time he’s run this fundraiser in Canada.

“We did it in the U.S. as well,” he said. “The staff members love it, the community loves it and we love to give back to the community.”

This year, the funds raised will benefit the Stollery Family Centre for Childbirth and Children Services at the hospital. In previous years, Tim Hortons has also supported the MSH child and adolescent mental health program.

“The campaign itself has been running for a very long time at Tim Hortons,” said Bell. “They’re very committed through the Smile Cookie campaign to support children’s causes. We’ve been very fortunate to have this partnership with them.”

He added the funds allow children in both Markham and Stouffville to get the care they need close to home.