Smile Cookie sales at Tim Hortons in Mississauga will help food bank deal with record-setting hunger numbers
Published May 1, 2023 at 10:51 am
Tim Hortons’ annual Smile Cookies fundraising campaign couldn’t come at a better time as far as The Mississauga Food Bank is concerned.
The popular cookies will be available today (May 1) through May 7 at all Tim Hortons locations in Mississauga and across the GTA. Cost is $1.50 per cookie, with proceeds raised going to various charities.
In Mississauga, proceeds this year are ticketed to help both The Mississauga Food Bank and Community Living Mississauga.
Officials at Mississauga’s main food bank, which has a network of more than 50 agencies across the city, say they can use all the help they can get as the hunger crisis in Canada’s seventh-largest city continues to dramatically worsen.
The Mississauga Food Bank is setting records so far in 2023, but not in a good way.
In fact, the news is alarming, officials at the food bank say.
The food bank, which three weeks ago moved into a much larger space to meet the fast-growing need, served 16,068 people in March, the most ever in a single month, by far, and a 61 per cent increase over March 2022.
The March figures broke the previous record of 13,850 people served, which was set in February of this year. And that mark topped the previous record of 13,326, set in January 2023.
Food bank officials are sounding the alarm, once again, given that troubling trend.
So, they’re happy to get some much-needed help from the popular Tim Hortons cookie campaign.
“When you buy Smile Cookies between May 1 and 7 at your local Mississauga Tim Hortons restaurant, you’ll help neighbours in need across the city and ensure they can access healthy and appropriate food,” food bank officials in Mississauga said in a press release.
Officials are especially looking forward to receiving help from the cookie campaign given the food bank’s 2023 Spring Food Drive just concluded with numbers that fell below the $750,000 goal.
The drive raised $626,954.
“Food bank usage has already increased by 60 per cent since pre-pandemic times in 2019, and we’re still seeing staggering numbers of food bank clients month after month,” said Meghan Nicholls, CEO of The Mississauga Food Bank, in a news release. “We set a big financial goal this year that reflects the real cost of what it takes to feed our hungry neighbours. And while we didn’t reach our financial goal, we still want to thank our supporters for helping us raise $626,954, which equals food for 626,954 meals. Our work isn’t done, but your support is reaching those most vulnerable in your community today, putting food on the tables of those who desperately need it as we work towards a Mississauga where no one goes hungry.”
The Mississauga Food Bank CEO Meghan Nicholls, shown here addressing Mississauga City council last fall, has been ringing the alarm bell as the city’s main food bank is facing huge demands.
A spokesperson for The Mississauga Food Bank said in an earlier email to insauga.com that the January 2023 number of people served represented a 41 per cent year-over-year increase while the February figures show a 44 per cent increase from the same month in 2022.
“Every month that we are breaking a record is not a cause for celebration, but an alarm bell that we are urgently ringing,” the spokesperson said. “This emergency need is only continuing to rise for our most vulnerable neighbours, and we need the support of our community more than ever.”
Food bank officials in Mississauga have been alerting politicians at all levels of government as more and more city residents need help feeding their families and are falling even deeper into poverty.
Earlier this year, The Mississauga Food Bank joined forces with Food Banks Canada to deliver the urgent message all the way to Ottawa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s doorstep.
In a letter to the prime minister, the two agencies asked for immediate action to address the fast-growing problem of food insecurity in Mississauga, the GTA and across the country.
The Mississauga Food Bank’s latest numbers show that it distributed food for more than 5.6 million meals in the last year, and that number is expected to grow.