Rolling up your rims to feed the homeless of Kitchener-Waterloo

Photo by Fani Hsieh

Tim Hortons™ has launched its annual “Roll Up The Rim To Win” promotional campaign, commencing a call for those on campus and in the region to collect and donate their winning rims for a good cause.

Cec Joyal, a development officer at Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as her twin sister have relaunched their annual campaign, collecting winning roll-up tabs and giving them to the homeless of Kitchener-Waterloo.

“About 20 years ago, we started an Out Of The Cold program: giving the homeless a place to sleep and eat every night of the week,” Joyal said. “The following year I was rolling up a rim and I won a free coffee and there happened to be a homeless person sitting outside of the Tim Horton’s, so I gave him the rim.”

“Then I got to thinking that we could do something on a larger scale, so I started collecting rims and putting up posters around campus…and it really started to grow,” she said.

Over the duration of Joyal’s time running the campaign, there has been an estimated 7,500 total tabs collected. 

“By the time I collect enough rims to start handing some out, I need at least 40 or 50 — I would like to give out one coffee and one food [tab per person].”

“One year, we got over 2,500 rims … it’s been really, really successful,” Joyal said.

Since the fruition of this initiative, students, faculty and members of the Kitchener-Waterloo community have become increasingly involved to provide more of their support. 

Several local elementary and secondary schools have also joined in over the years by making it a project for their students. 

Social media and the Out Of The Cold program’s website have allowed for the campaign to “spread like wildfire” over the last four or five years, making donation collecting much easier for Joyal and her team. 

The Out Of The Cold program is run by various churches in Kitchener-Waterloo, providing winter aid for those without shelter. 

It’s there where the tabs are distributed to the homeless, alongside a hot meal. Tabs are also handed out on a daily basis at the St. John’s soup kitchen on Queen Street South.

The campaign sees the bulk of its donations and distributions nearing the end of Tim Horton’s campaign. 

“By the time I collect enough rims to start handing some out, I need at least 40 or 50 — I would like to give out one coffee and one food [tab per person],” Joyal said. 

“It takes a while [to get started], so I’m usually not handing them out until the beginning of March.”

Donations can be sent to Joyal directly to her office mailbox at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Alumni Hall on the Waterloo campus, as well as to the Brantford campus mailboxes of Penny Friesen or Janice Vilaca. 

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