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Kingston’s Smile Cookie campaign raises over $156k for local NICU

(L to R) NICU Alumni Spencer-Elizabeth Hutchings, and Cayden and Callie Reid proudly hold a cheque for the $156,806 raised through the local Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign in support of the KHSC NICU. Submitted photo.

Kingstonians’ love for smiles, cookies, and helping little ones in need has done it again!

In its 18th year, the local Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign has surpassed its goal, once again, raising a record-breaking total of $156,806 in support of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC).

“We did it! We could not have done it without our community’s support,” Nathan and Kylee Moore, local Tim Hortons Restaurant owners, said in a statement.

“Our hard-working team members amaze us every year. This year, our store on Innovation Drive in Kingston was one of the top 10 in Smile Cookie sales in Eastern Ontario. I think we speak for all store owners when we say we are grateful for your continued support. Thank you to every guest who bought a cookie or a dozen!”

(L to R) Local Tim Hortons restaurant owners, Nathan and Kylee Moore, Sherri Agnew, Leanne O’Mara, Brandon Varga, Ashley Balfour, and Emily Melo, all participated in the 2021 Smile Cookie campaign. Submitted photo.

According to University Hospitals Kingston Foundation (UHKF), the fundraising arm of KHSC, local Tim Hortons restaurant owners raised $150,000 last year, bringing their total contributions to the NICU at KHSC over 18 years to over $1 million.

“At the kick-off this year, no goal was announced, but everyone wondered if they could do that again,” UHKF Board Member, Ashley Montroy, expressed.

“Our community pleasantly surprised us and raised another record-breaking total. From the owners to staff to all the people who purchased cookies, thank you to everyone who supported this campaign. The Smile Cookie Campaign is a wonderful example of our community coming together to help support some of the tiniest patients at KHSC and their loved ones.”

(Back, L to R) Amanda and Stephanie Montroy of UHKF join (Front, L to R) NICU Alumni, Cayden and Callie Reid, in holding up a cheque for the $156,806 raised for the KHSC NICU through this year’s Smile Cookie campaign. Submitted photo.

For Dr. Robert Connelly, Neonatologist and Head of the Department of Pediatrics at KHSC, the actual results of this community fundraiser are plapable.

“This gift will allow our team to continue to provide state-of-the-art care right here in Kingston,” he said in a statement.

“Thank you to everyone who helped make this Smile Cookie campaign the best year yet. Tim Hortons and the Kingston community amaze us with their support year after year. It is incredibly meaningful, not only because it supports the small babies in the NICU, but it supports families, too—thank you!”

Like Connelly, Jensen Murphy, a ‘NICU Alumni,’ knows first hand the importance and impact of the work done at the local NICU.

“In 1997, I was born at 28-weeks and had to stay in the NICU at Kingston General Hospital for three months. I was very sick, and my parents did not think I would make it,” Murphy shared.

“Hearing about many local families who have benefitted from the NICU at KHSC is inspiring. It has specifically inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. Without the skilled staff and exceptional care, I may not be here today. Thank you for saving my life!”

(L to R) Dr. Robert Connelly, Neonatologist and Head of the Department of Pediatrics at KHSC, NICU Alumni Jensen Murphy, and Damiano Loricchio, Director of Women and Children’s Programs at KHSC, all know first hand the important and impactful role the local NICU plays in the lives of many families and children, here in Kingston, and across eastern Ontario. Submitted photo.

This year, those across the country celebrated the 25th anniversary of the annual Tim Hortons Smile Cookie campaign, which take place this year from September 13 to 19. More than $12 million was raised through this year’s campaign, also setting a new record like the campaign here in Kingston. Since its inception in 1996, the annual campaign has raised over $77 million for charities, which are selected each year by restaurant owners.

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