Tim Hortons using tasty treats to help build Prince Albert hospice

Rose Garden Hospice Chair Marina Mitchell (left) and local Tim Hortons owner Cheryl Sander (right) hold up smile cookies at the campaign's kickoff on Sept. 11, 2020. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

Buying a Tim Hortons smile cookie next week will help put a smile on someone receiving end of life care.

Local Tim Hortons owners, father-daughter duo Ed Zaparaniuk and Cheryl Sander, joined Rose Garden Hospice members on Friday morning to kickoff this year’s smile cookie campaign.

Zaparaniuk and Sander announced the hospice will also receive the proceeds for the next two years.

From Sept. 14 to 20, you can purchase a chocolate chip cookie for $1 at any four of Prince Albert’s Tim Hortons locations. All of the proceeds will go towards the Rose Garden Hospice, a home-like setting for people with terminal illnesses.

The hospice is named after Chair Marina Mitchell’s mother, who passed away from cancer.

“For me, it’s a little personal. My mom does have cancer, so I can kind of relate with Marina and I went through the experience,” said Sander.

“When something hits home, what can we do to help? My dad knows, he saw my mom quite sick, so you don’t want to see someone you love like that and this is amazing. Look at this environment, can you imagine?” she said, referencing the Rose Garden Hospice office in the Gateway Mall.

Sander’s mother doesn’t currently need hospital care—luckily, she’s able to live with family. But, she said, many spend their last days cooped up in a hospital bed.

“We’re a local charity and this is a community initiative and like Cheryl said, to have it hit close to home, that really counts and drives people,” said Mitchell.

Rose Garden Hospice and Tim Hortons representatives pose outside of the hospice’s office in the Gateway Mall to launch the smile cookie campaign on Sept. 11, 2020. (Jayda Taylor/Daily Herald)

So far, the Rose Garden Hospice has raised about $2.4 million of its $4 million target.

Mitchell couldn’t estimate when construction would begin. They planned to start this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to reassess.

“COVID hit us really hard as well with fundraising. We had to cancel our Hike for Hospice, which we’ve had annually now for two years and we usually do really well at that,” she said.

“But anyways, we’re forging ahead.”

Last year, Prince Albert smile cookie proceeds went to the food bank. Sander said the campaign raised about $16,000.

“I cried, I won’t lie. When we dropped off the cheque, there was a lineup out the door, and there was little kids in that lineup,” she said.

In 2015 and 2016, smile cookie proceeds went towards renovations on the Victoria Hospital’s pediatric unit.

“There’s obviously a ton of different places we could assist, and this was just one of them,” said Sander.

“When you see the blueprint and the visual pictures of the Rose Garden Hospice, you just can’t wait. You want to get to the end goal because you know how many people it will help, so this is just another step in the right direction.”

The hospice is set to be built on the corner of Marquis Road and Fourth Avenue West. The provincial government has committed to providing $2 million per year for operating costs.

Two of the city’s Tim Hortons locations are along 15th Avenue West, one is in the Cornerstone area and one is on Marquis Road. Sander said each location will have pre-order forms, which allow staff to have fresh smile cookies ready to pickup whenever you choose.