Laurier runs Roll Up the Rim for the homeless

With the frigid temperatures of winter giving way to the first signs of spring, most people are excited to soon be free of their cumbersome winter attire.

For Kitchener-Waterloo’s homeless population, the spring thaw is an enormous relief. Winter weather poses dangerous threats to individuals sleeping outside. While shelters try to find more beds to accommodate people, many homeless are often left in the cold.

Five years ago, Cec Joyal, development officer for Individual and Legacy Giving at Laurier, created an initiative to assist the area’s homeless population. As a longtime volunteer with the Out of the Cold Program – which provides meals and shelter for the homeless during the winter – Joyal has witnessed first-hand the struggles that they face.

At the Saint Louis Church in Waterloo where she volunteers, Joyal explained that “the 50 to 60 people who stay overnight in the church often don’t have a place to go in the morning.”

This stark realization gave Joyal the idea to begin the Roll Up the Rim for homelessness campaign.

In the weeks that Tim Horton’s Roll Up the Rim event occurs, an exorbitant amount of coffee cups will be purchased in the hopes of winning any one of the countless prizes that the coffee retailer offers. The overwhelming majority of these cups will produce prizes that consist of free coffees and snacks.

Joyal’s campaign collects winning rims and distributes them to the homeless community. These coffee cup rims not only provide food and coffee to those in need, but as Joyal describes, “they offer a place for the homeless to go during the day and stay warm.”

In its five-year history, the initiative has managed to collect several hundred rims each year.

Joyal is ecstatic with the progress that has been made thus far, stating, “Our staff and students have been really great. Everyone wants to help the homeless and I am encouraged by all that has been done.”

Roll Up the Rim for Homelessness has grown beyond the Kitchener-Waterloo area with rims being sent from as far away as Owen Sound.

Despite its success, Joyal hopes that this years campaign will be the best yet. She feels that, “increased promotion and word-of-mouth will be really helpful.”

Donations of winning coffee cup rims to the Roll Up the Rim for Homelessness campaign can be made at the C-Spot.