Brant Food For Thought LogoTim Horton's Logo

Strong Start to Reading Logo




This year, the annual Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign runs from September 16 – 22 in participating Restaurants across Canada. The Smile Cookie campaign began in 1996 to help raise funds for the Hamilton Children’s Hospital in Ontario and has grown to become a major fundraising event at Tim Hortons Restaurants nationally. In 2018, the Smile Cookie campaign raised $7.8 million across Canada.

During this year’s campaign, guests can enjoy a freshly baked chocolate chunk Smile Cookie for $1, plus applicable taxes, and the Tim Hortons restaurant owners will donate the full $1 from each cookie sold back to local charities. This year’s charity recipients are Brant Food For Thought and Strong Start to Reading. These two organizations work to provide nutritional and academic support for children in our schools right here in Brantford.

Boy and Girl Eating

School children enjoying fruits and vegetables in a breakfast program! – Submitted Photo

Brant Food For Thought is the lead charitable organization that contributes to a child’s ability to learn by facilitating and supporting Universal Student Nutrition Programs in elementary and secondary schools in Brantford and in the County of Brant. We believe that:

  • Nutrition is a fundamental determinant of healthy child development;
  • Good nutrition positively affects a child’s ability to learn;
  • Student nutrition programs should provide equitable access to the most nutritious foods possible; and,
  • The community has a collective responsibility for the well-being of our children.

Since 1998, Brant Food For Thought has been supporting universal student nutrition programs with access to grants for food and equipment, networking and fundraising opportunities, workshops, volunteer training, public relations and community awareness. We support over 9,700 students in 50 programs to access more than 1 million healthy snacks and meals during the school year. Close to 300 teachers, educational assistants and volunteers receive support with resources, budgeting tools and online training modules to ensure that programs are run safely and efficiently.

Educators witness firsthand the benefits of a student nutrition program. “We’ve introduced a whole new way of eating to the predominantly low-income families in our school, exposed hundreds of kids to nutritious food they have never tried before, provided meaningful volunteer opportunities to several seniors and four intellectually challenged adults, and witnessed a clear improvement in both social and academic performance among the children, verified by the principal.” Thank you for supporting the children and youth in our community.

Erica Cross Volunteer Coach

Strong Start Volunteer Coach Erica Cross works with Callum Bince at Brier Park School in Brantford. After her son participated in the Strong Start program at Brier Park, Erica wanted to give back to other children by volunteering for the program. – Submitted Photo

Strong Start® Charitable Organization is a registered Canadian charity that helps young children learn to read. Our programs involve working with children directly in addition to providing resources for families to support the development of strong literacy skills. The Strong Start Letters, Sounds and Words™ program provides a literacy boost for young learners aged 5-7 in our community as well as English language learners up to age 10. Children are given the opportunity to practice and master early reading skills on an individual basis with a trained Volunteer Coach using carefully designed games, activities and books. They have lots of fun while the learning happens, with measurable results! The children’s self-esteem and confidence grows as they see themselves as successful learners. With the help of over 500 of volunteers who gave 7,382 hours of volunteer time, this past school year over 700 children who attend schools in the city of Brantford benefited from the program with an average of 14 children per school. We anticipate similar numbers for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year.

Linda Maryniuk, Strong Start Staff Site Co-ordinator at Brier Park School in Brantford said, “The biggest benefit of the Letters, Sounds and Words program is giving those students who need extra support the boost that they need. It improves their sight word language, ability to read and decode words, and boosts their confidence, which is step number one of becoming a good reader.”

There are 550 Canadian charities, hospitals and community programs supported through the Smile Cookie campaign. Visit for a list of local charities benefiting from the Smile Cookie campaign. Join the conversation online and share your smiles on social media using the hashtag #SmileCookie.