Thanks to customers from Leamington and across the country, youths from underprivileged families will enjoy a unique outdoors experience.
Tim Hortons’ annual Camp Day was well received both locally and across Canada, again generating the funds necessary to grant about 20,000 youths the chance to enjoy a one-week camping excursion at a pre-designated site far from home. At Leamignton’s Erie Street South location — part of Crowder Enterprises, which also owns Leamington’s other two Tim Hortons restaurants as well as the two Essex branches and the rural kiosk at Manning Road and County Road 46 — recognized the yearly fundraiser with a series of day-long events and attractions.
While all Tim Hortons locations donate Camp Day coffee sales to the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation in support of sending youths from low-income families to camp, each restaurant was encouraged to add its own fundraising ideas.
The Leamington Erie Street South location also offered a series of innovative on-site attractions to add to coffee sales, including a modification to its own drive-thru “jail” site. This year, the stand-up, makeshift prison cell was replaced by — appropriately enough — a tent. The set up once again allowed the release of a volunteer “camper” after a specific amount of donations were collected at the drive thru on their behalf.
“The tent offers a lot more shade than the jail did,” explained Leamington Tim Hortons Erie Street South supervisor Kristyn Mellow, one of more than a dozen individuals who stepped forward to help prepare for and organize the local branch’s involvement in Camp Day.
Mellow was joined by a handful of other local Tim Hortons employees as well as a trio of special guests visiting from Rosewood Erie Glenn Manor. This year’s Camp Day was also an opportunity for local high school students to tally required community hours.
“We really wanted to get the public involved this year with a variety of things,” Mellow explained. “It’s a big deal for us and since we’ve got the parking space, we like to go all out.”
With about two months of pre Camp day planning, the Erie Street South location went with a Hawaiian theme this year. After posting an in-store Camp Day volunteer recruitment sheet, a team of employees to assist with the fundraiser’s assortment of functions was formed.
“There are a lot of behind the scenes things to take care of,” Mellow said. “For the week before, we didn’t sleep. It gets pretty nuts a couple days before.”
Last year, Leamington’s most southerly Tim Horton’s raised $4,606, including $700 in sales of $2 braclets and $1,800 in cash donations. Although bracelet sales were down this year at $446, cash contributions were up to $2,369.20 for a combined sum of $7,372.14. The restaurant’s fundraisers included a drive for $300 to force employee Matt Azar to dye his beard hot pink and an indoor silent raffle for donated items and services. Those prizes included a photography session with Kate Foulon of Stella’s View Photography, a dog basket from Pet Value and a Kurig and webcam offered from Staples.
“People are very generous,” noted Leamington municipal councilor John Jacobs, who again volunteered to be one of Camp Day’s drive thru ‘prisoners’. “Even if it’s just loose change, every little bit helps.”
Last year, the Canada-wide total for Camp Day proceeds reached $13.7 million. Nationwide results from this year’s event were not available by press deadline.