Tim Hortons’ annual fundraiser arrived a little earlier than normal this year, but support from the Leamington area was as timely as ever.
This year’s Canada- and U.S.-wide Camp Day took place about a week ahead of schedule, a change that seemed to suit the Leamington area’s Timmy’s customers just fine. As in past years, Leamington Tim Hortons Erie Street South employee Fatima Vieira stepped up to organize one of the county’s most ambitious Camp Day fundraising campaigns. The Wednesday, May 31 event included the same 100 per cent of coffee purchases and sale of Camp Day bracelets that other Tim Hortons locations directed towards the traditional camp program, but also featured a lengthy list of other funding generators. Leamington’s most southerly Tim Hortons restaurant also featured the sale of water, pop and barbecued hot dogs, a bouncy castle, games, drive thru donation collections and other strategies to help support the program that will send 19,000 youths from low-income households to camp through the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation.
Vieira’s co-workers also stepped up again in support of Camp Day. While all employees stationed outside the building volunteered their services to help raise money, Vieira also credited workers stationed inside for their contributions to the yearly fundraiser. Matthew Azar, who began growing a beard in early February of this year, vowed to shave his newly-formed facial hair for an additional $100 in donations and have his head shaven in the event that the amount reached $200. Meanwhile, Devon Garganta brought along his acoustic guitar to provide live musical entertainment, also in exchange for customer donations.
“It took a awhile to set everything up, but it’s been good — we’re having an awesome day,” Vieira said at about 11 a.m. on Camp Day. The turnout’s been really good already. The little kids seem to remember the bouncy castle from last year, so they came out early. I’m lucky that (store manager) Mary (Taouil) let’s me do my own thing here — she’s a huge help with setting up. She’s been fantastic.”
While children were admitted entry to the inflatable castle for 10 minutes at $2 each or via a full-day pass for $10, local figureheads were confined to a homemade ‘camp prison’ along side the drive thru lane until a suitable amount of donations were collected to permit their release. Leamington council members John Jacobs, Larry Verbeke and mayor John Paterson were among the first prisoners to step into the homemade cell, decorated for Camp Day by Vieira’s children. At the same time, Doug’s DJ Service made a return visit to the Erie South location, offering karaoke songs and a chance to win free DJ services to customers offering Camp Day contributions.
For the barbecue, 240 hot dogs — sold at $2 each — were donated by Bradt’s Butcher Block. Also outdoors, Camp Day cowboy hats and t-shirts were sold while auction items donated by local businesses raised additional funds indoors.
“Fatima does an amazing job in Leamington,” said Cam Crowder of Crowder Enterprises, the entity owning all three Leamington Tim Hortons restaurants as well as the two in Essex and a kiosk in Maidstone. “She puts a lot of work into it and she really gets the staff involved.”
Crowder, who toured the five locations along with his brother Chase, noted that all locations put on their own events to coincide with Camp Day, backed by the services of employees and volunteers. Together, the six Crowder locations raised a sum of $29,671.59 through Camp Day.
“Everyone’s doing something, making it a friendly competition between restaurants,” he explained. “It’s all about the same cause — sending kids to camp and giving them a great experience.”
The amount raised by the local store for Camp Day this year was not available by press deadline. Each year, thousands of youths from across Canada and the U.S. are selected to attend week-long camps at one of seven THCF locations — Memorial Camp in Parry Sound, Ont., Children’s Camp in Tatamagouche, N.S., Children’s Ranch in Kananaskis County, Alb., Camp Des Voyageurs in Quyon, Que., Camp Kentahten in Camplesville, Kentucky, Onondaga Farms in St. George, Ont. and Camp Whiteshell in Pinawa, Man.