Cruisin' for a Cause at A&W Tillsonburg

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Classic cars and retro music have filled the A&W Tillsonburg parking lot Thursday nights for their weekly Cruisin’ the Dub.

“A little bit more than normal tonight,” said A&W Tillsonburg supervisor Georgina Wilson, who organizes the weekly classic and muscle car shows from May to September. “Maybe 50 cars and trucks.”

Both an organizer and participant, Wilson has no favourites when it comes to ‘classic’ vs ‘muscle’ or any particular decade.

“No I don’t actually, whatever comes, comes.”

Cruisin’ the Dub, she said, is about having fun and raising money for charities and service clubs.

“Come out for a night, have some fun, and raise money for charities,” said Wilson, noting this year’s beneficiaries included Tillsonburg Relay for Life, Kinsmen Club of Tillsonburg, Breast Cancer Society, and Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

The car show also brings back memories of ‘car hops’ and drive-ins, which were popular until the late ‘70s.

“Back then it was just the place to go,” said Wilson, who remembers her sister working at the old Tillsonburg A&W on Simcoe Street. “Cruisin’ the Dub… the place to go every night with your cars. That’s why, when A&W came back, they decided to do the cruise nights. It brings everyone back to the ‘old days.’”

CRUISIN’ FOR A CAUSE

Thursday, August 22, marked A&W’s country-wide fifth annual Cruisin for a Cause, which raised more than $3.4 million for the MS Society of Canada over its first four years.

More than 780 A&W restaurants across Canada hosted Cruisin' for a Cause events, including Cruisin' the Dub classic car gatherings, car hop service, A&W Root Beer chugging contests, and visits from the Great A&W Root Bear.

“The first year we did it, it wasn’t all that big here,” admitted Wilson. “But now, pretty well every A&W is doing something. If they’re not holding the Cruise nights, they’re doing something else.”

Locally, the Tillsonburg restaurant set a $2,000 goal in 2012 and raised $2,326. This year they set an End MS target of $2,200 and successfully raised $3,162.

“We have reached our goal. We’ve already past last year’s number.”

On Thursday A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. donated $1 from every Teen Burger, first introduced to its menu in 1961, sold across Canada to the MS Society.

"We are thrilled at how this fundraising initiative has been embraced by all of A&W's employees and burger fans across the country,” said Paul Hollands, president and CEO of A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. in a media release.

Canadians have one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world, with 100,000 individuals living with MS, and every day three more people are diagnosed. MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in the country.

The MS Society of Canada offers programs and services for people with MS and their families, and is also the highest per-capita funder of MS research in the world.

"A&W continues to be a leader in the movement to end MS," said Yves Savoie, president and CEO of the MS Society of Canada in a media release. "In five years, Cruisin' for a Cause has made an incredible impact in the lives of Canadians living with MS from coast to coast. Thank you to the entire A&W family for their continued support and dedication, in what has become a highlight of each summer."

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