The Montreal Diet Dispensary



“The children’s eyes shone like Christmas trees when they came to pick up their presents”


(MONTREAL) – Every year, for a few weeks before the Holiday Season, our city’s oldest charity, the Montreal Diet Dispensary (MDD), converts into Santa Claus’ shop, with donations of food, clothing and toys coming in from all over.

Just down the road from MDD’s Santa shop, Montreal advertising and marketing communications firm CHM Communications Inc. has assumed the role of elves by taking on the toy part of MDD’s needs, making smiles at Christmas the order of the day. In fact, CHM has been collecting gifts for needy Montreal children for the past 36 years and in just the past decade has turned over tens of thousands of dollars of gifts each year to the venerable Montreal Diet Dispensary. That’s a lot of smiles.

As CHM enters its 37th campaign, company President Sandy Milroy says the drive never gets easier. “After all this time, it’s still the same,” says Milroy. “We start with nothing and aim to get close to 2000-3000 gifts. MDD has a need and we’ve stepped in to fill that need.”

MDD’s executive director Marie-Paule Duquette says: “...hundreds of families benefited... and, for many of them, it had been a long time since someone remembered them at Christmas. The children’s eyes shone like Christmas trees when they came to pick up their presents. You really have brightened their eyes.”

CHM's Christmas 2012 effort includes the popular Bring Some Joy, Give A Toy Skate With Santa event, which will be held at the Lower Canada College rink from 2:00pm to 3:20pm on Sunday, December 9th. Singles, families, young and old – anyone who brings a toy or makes a cash donation (used to purchase toys) is welcome.

“It’s a chance to skate at a gorgeous arena facility with a surprisingly spry Santa,” points out Milroy. “But Santa is busy and we’re only on the ice for 80 minutes, so come early.”

Gifts are collected in several ways, says Milroy, not just at the Skate WithSanta. "Students at Lower Canada College have helped out in a big way for the last several years, as have several CHM clients, and many toy companies... we make a lot of calls.” 


On again this year is a special collaboration with the Second Cup at the corner of Monkland and Old Orchard in NDG. The theme is “Bring A Toy, Get A Coffee,” a tamer version of the successful “Bring A Toy, Get A Drink” event CHM hosted up until the mid-1990’s. Anyone who brings in an unwrapped gift will receive a free coffee, courtesy of Second Cup.


Due to the nature and timing of visits to MDD, gifts are distributed both before AND after December 25th, so nothing goes to waste no matter when it is received.


The Montreal Diet Dispensary

In 1879, the Montreal Diet Dispensary began as a soup kitchen for the needy. That mission has expanded, so that today in their 133rd year, MDD promotes and safeguards the health and well-being of disadvantaged people through nutritional counseling and food supplementation.

MDD also serves as an active centre for the prevention of low birthweight babies of women at or below the poverty level. This includes prenatal nutrition research, special care and follow-up for women with gestational diabetes, food supplementation and the dissemination of nutrition information through education and training activities.

Each year, MDD provides individualized nutrition counseling to about 1300 low-income young mothers and pregnant women and their roughly 3000 children. Many live alone or in unstable relationships, and have a history of poor health and poor nutritional status. Through MDD’s programs, these women receive much needed support and encouragement.

Surprisingly, The Montreal Diet Dispensary (MDD) and CHM Communications Inc., have quite a few things in common. They’re both located on Lincoln Avenue in downtown Montreal. They both run their operations out of old houses rather than traditional office space. They both were established in ’79, though being a century older, MDD’s birth date is 1879 compared to CHM’s 1979! And they’re linked in serving the needs of Montrealers.


CHM expects to hand over most toys to the Montreal Diet Dispensary throughout December and beyond. Anyone wishing to contribute in one form or another may drop off or send their contribution to CHM's offices located downtown at 1827 Lincoln (phone: (514) 935-5534). Pick-ups can also be arranged.

CHM Communications Inc. – celebrating it’s 36th anniversary this year– is a Montreal- based advertising and marketing communications firm serving clients regionally, nationally and internationally in a variety of industries. 


For additional information, please contact one of the following

via email:

Sandy Milroy (
Richard Lowson (,

Lawrence Kirsch (

Marc Guerbilsky ( Sandra Hellyer (

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