DFO fills a giant milk glass with well-wishes for children’s hospital patients

This year's milk-and-cookies effort helps isolated kids hear from the outside world.

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The holidays will look drastically different this year, but especially so for patients throughout Ontario’s children’s hospitals.

With restrictions on the number of family members that can visit a patient and stay overnight, the 2020 holiday season will be that much more isolating and lonely for patients at a time when families usually come together.

To help children in Ontario hospitals feel more connected to their families and their communities at large, the Dairy Farmers of Ontario and agency No Fixed Address have created an 18-foot milk glass that appears to fill up as messages of support come in on social media. Messages that use the hashtag “#FillUpWithLove” will also be displayed on an LED screen on the glass, with the goal of it being moved from its current place in Toronto’s Distillery District to the roof of SickKids, next to a giant cookie, to ensure Santa doesn’t miss that stop on his route on Christmas Eve.

DFO is trying to reaffirm its position as a community builder that cultivates connections. Besides connecting the farms that make up its membership, it has also supported Ontario food banks financially and by providing dairy products that can keep communities fed and nourished.

“We think that these kids need to feel connected to their communities and those individuals around them – especially during a time where that’s being stripped away because of the uncontrollable [factors] of the pandemic,” says Sabrina Babooram, director of community partnerships at DFO. “Being able to receive messages of inspiration and hope, one can assume that is going to be really uplifting and make these kids feel like people are thinking of them. Since people are already there on social, let’s just make it an easy mechanism that people can use to offer up their well wishes to these kids, frontline workers and their families.”

The messages will also be displayed on closed circuit screens at SickKids, London’s Children’s Health Foundation, McMaster Children’s Hospital and Ottawa’s Cheo Foundation.

This is the second year DFO has used milk and cookies to encourage giving back to patients at children’s hospitals, but the 18-foot milk glass also helps the public see the impact they’re having on children patients through their positive messages, something that many non-profits and brands alike have noticed is an important driver for donations and engagement with CSR campaigns this year.

DFO is also once again teaming up with numerous partners to drive donations to children’s hospitals. This year, the list includes Mondelez, Metro, Sobeys, Fortinos, Longo’s, Lactalis Canada, Agropur and Saputo, who will be making a $500,000 financial contribution.

NFA also handled the media buy, which is amplifying the effort on social. DFO is also running last year’s “Big Believers” spot again this year, with the messaging tweaked slightly to fit 2020, airing on TV in Ontario. Partners CVS, WonderMakr and Airfoil Media worked on with NFA and DFO on the giant milk glass.