Smile Cookie Week is underway for the first time at the new Tim Hortons in Altona, and the Altona and Area Family Resource Centre (AAFRC) was the first organization selected by the restaurant to receive the proceeds from the fundraiser.

"This is a huge impact," shared AAFRC Coordinator Nina Edbom-Kehler. "We are nonprofit, and all of the funds that come in, we have to write grants for, or we solicit for donations. A lot of them are tagged for specific things, and by things I mean a lot of times you have to purchase a desk, or a chair or a rug or something like that. Whereas this money we can actually use for wages, because it takes people to work with people, and make people feel comfortable. It takes a village, and these ones we can use for stuff like that, because there's nothing more fulfilling than when you have people talking to people, and making them feel welcome. We're really excited for that kind of thing."

Altona Tim Hortons franchisee Rupesh Patel is also excited about his first Smile Cookie Week in the community, and shared that during a launch event Monday at the restaurant.

"Nina and the entire team at the Altona and Area Family Resource Centre, they are great, and they have really good volunteers," he said, noting the group has been hard at work getting cookie orders booked. "They have collected a whole bunch of pre-orders. We are sitting at about $8,000 (as of Monday morning), and the goal is to go all the way up to $20,000"

Each cookie is $1.50, and the entire cost goes to the AAFRC.

"We are a nonprofit organization, and all of our programming is free," said Edbom-Kehler. "All of our programming is parent child, so it's not a drop-off. Parents or caregivers, grandmas, aunts, uncles,  your neighbour can bring a child under the age of five. So, zero to five we have programming, and it would deal with literacy, numeracy, nutrition, physical activity, those kind of things.

She noted everything they do is about partnering with people in the community.

"We'll partner with local schools, we'll partner with the daycares, and those kind of things, and work together, and see what we have going on in the community, and what our community has to offer."

Doing its best to maximize its reach to the area, the AAFRC also offers programming in Gretna and Rosenfeld, and also in the past, Emerson.

"Transportation is a bit of an issue, because some families have one vehicle," she explained. "If one of the the adults in the household takes the vehicle, they're stuck at home. But if they can walk to the school where we hold programming, or that kind of thing, then that's why we operate in different communities around Altona."

Smile Cookie orders are still being taken, and you can place yours by emailing or calling 204-324-2352.

aafrc in studioThe Altona and Area Family Resource Centre took a tour of CFAM Radio 950 studios, with Chris Sumner (right) hosting. Radio star in the making Wyatt is with his mom on the far right side in the red and white striped shirt.

And ahead of Smile Cookie Week, a group from the Altona and Area Family Resource Centre spent some time inside CFAM Radio 950 studios in Altona, with Morning Show Host Chris Sumner taking the group of mothers and children through the fun of being on the radio. Four year old Wyatt is a radio star in the making, and you can hear his first broadcast, below.