For most Canadians, winning a prize through the Tim Hortons Roll Up the Rim to Win campaign represents a rare chance to have a coffee or doughnut without paying for it.

But for dozens of people in an Out of the Cold program at a Waterloo church, the contest represents a rare chance to enjoy a meal and get indoors on a cold day.

Cec Joyal has been volunteering at the Out of the Cold program at St. Louis Roman Catholic Parish on Allen Street since it began in 1999.

That first winter, when the Roll Up the Rim campaign began, Joyal started saving her winning tabs to give to people using Out of the Cold – and wondering if she could convince others to do thet same.

“I thought ‘I wonder if I could do this on a grander scale,’” she tells CTV News.

The next year, when Roll Up the Rim got underway once again, Joyal sprung back into action – with a new battle plan.

She advertised her rim collection goal on posters at Wilfrid Laurier University, spread the word by telling her coworkers and even started a website.

An elementary school teacher in Milton saw the website and got his students collecting rims, providing a huge boost to Joyal’s efforts.

Over the next few years, the program expanded to other schools throughout southern Ontario – but all the rims made their way back to Waterloo.

In 2013, Joyal collected 600 winning rims.

For everyone using the Out of the Cold program on a given night to be given a coffee-winning rim and a food-winning rim, Joyal says she needs 50 of each – meaning enough rims were collected to be given out on six occasions last year.

“Not everybody feels comfortable enough to go and volunteer, maybe not comfortable enough to approach a homeless person and give them money or give them a tab,” Joyal says.

“This is such an easy way to help, and it makes them feel good.”

In addition, Joyal says, restaurants like Tim Hortons typically don’t allow people to spend significant amounts of time inside unless they’re customers – which is not normally the case for most homeless people.

“That’s the hardest part for our homeless – when they have to leave the church at 8 a.m., roam the streets and try to find a warm place,” she says.

Anyone looking to donate their winning rims can drop them off or mail them to Cec Joyal at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Alumni Hall or make arrangements by emailing or calling 519-884-1970 ext. 3864.