As groups around Ottawa raise money and host events for the men’s health movement known as Movember, The Merry Dairy is offering a taste of the cause through a special line of ice cream flavours called “The Mo’arry Dairy.”
It’s collaborating with the Movember team from Ottawa’s main RBC Dominion Services Branch. Known for championing other social issues, The Merry Dairy says for each $10 pint of the special flavours it sells in November, it is donating $2 to Movember.
Movember calls itself the leading charity changing the face of men’s health. It raises money and awareness for mental health, to fight prostate cancer, and to take on testicular cancer. One in eight men will develop prostate cancer, and three of four victims of suicide in Canada are men, its website says.
“For 20 years, Movember has worked to build a men’s health movement that spans the globe, shining a much-needed spotlight on men’s health,” Sonya Friesen, public relations manager of Movember Canada, told Capital Current. “[It] isn’t just a one-month campaign, it’s a year-round commitment to leading the charge, encouraging men to adopt healthy behaviours, challenging health systems and confronting gender norms to reduce health inequalities and save more lives.”
Across Ottawa each year, teams raise money for Movember. Bars, firefighters, and groups from universities and businesses participate. The movement’s signature symbol is men growing moustaches in November.
Don Cook has been the leader of the RBC Movember Team for three years. He approached the owners of The Merry Dairy two years ago with the idea. Cook has a background in winemaking and worked with the staff to create some “manly” flavours — Black Cherry, Dark Chocolate & Espresso, Caramel & Cognac and Churrisimo.
“My family has always had a big sense of giving, it’s always been part of my DNA,” he said.
Movember encourages moustaches for the month (though not required) and speaking up about issues affecting men. The charity says it has funded 1,250 men’s health projects and has been working to erase stigma since 2003. It is a global event that anyone can participate in.
So far, the Merry Dairy team has raised $12,975.
The Merry Dairy is often involved in community initiatives called “Pint Fundraisers." It is approached by schools, sports teams, churches and more to create custom labels and raise money for different causes. The labels are put on the special pints and a portion of the profit goes to the group. A fundraiser for Lisgar Collegiate is also underway currently.
The Merry Dairy’s Marlene Haley says that during the pandemic, the shop got creative with their labels and ways to do fundraising.
“Any organization, if they want to raise money, can approach us,” Haley said. “It’s really important on their end that they’re spreading the word.”
The ice cream shop has been at Fairmont and Gladstone Avenues since 2017. Even without these campaigns, Haley says they would still be involved in the community.
“Ice cream especially brings people together and it’s creative,” Haley said. “That combination, it’s a community hub you can hang out, a community spot to hang out and be creative.”
“It’s one month a year to focus on men’s health. We all have fathers, grandfathers, sons, and brothers and men aren’t really good at taking care of themselves,” Cook told Capital Current. He has a moustache for the cause.
“It’s just fun. We have fun, they have fun, and you get ice cream,” Haley said.
For more: shop.themerrydairy.com/products/movember.