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NOW LUNENBURG COUNTY: The joy in being asked

A simple invitation can make a huge difference to becoming a welcoming community

I’m sitting at home on a Thursday night, watching the Boston vs Carolina Game 1, when I get a ‘ding’ indicating I received an email. It’s from the Mahone Bay Founders Society, asking me if I would contribute to the 40th Annual Our Best To You Food Sale at the St. James Parish Hall in Mahone Bay on May 25. I finally feel like I have arrived! No joke or exaggeration, I begin to scan my memory of recipes to decide what I should cook or bake and donate to this iconic event. 

In case you’re not aware, the Our Best To You Food Sale is a fundraiser where people go and buy food for that evening’s supper, or to fill their freezer, or to eat in the car on the drive home. People cook their family favourites mostly and donate it. It’s sold to people like me who love food. 

And now, they are asking me to contribute. To do the cooking, not just the buying! Honestly, I can imagine this is how it feels to be nominated for a prestigious award. I’ve added it to my calendar, I’ve made a grocery list and I’ve searched Pinterest for creative packaging, because you better believe I will not disappoint. 

It certainly is an honour just to be nominated…. I mean, asked to participate. 

Coincidentally, the day before, my friend and I were walking the beautiful trail behind the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre when we ran into a young man walking his dog. We stopped and did the typical small talk about the weather, asked about his gorgeous dog, and then I realize from his accent that he was from Newfoundland. A few questions later, we confirmed it. He moved to Bridgewater from Newfoundland and was working in Shelburne. We wished him well and continued on our walk. My friend and I discussed how we hoped he was settling in well here and finding his community. 

“He is exactly who I’m hoping to help attract and stay here,” I told my friend of my work with NOW Lunenburg County. I instantly felt regret for not asking for his phone number but couldn’t in a way that wasn’t absolutely creepy. If I asked for it, I’m sure he would have given me a wrong number, just as I would have if some strange person asked me for my number in the woods.

So, if you happen to be reading this, the fellow from Newfoundland with the gorgeous dog, I truly would love to connect, not for anything nefarious, but to make sure you’re loving it here, connect you with gentlemen’s league hockey if that’s your thing, or to a band if you play the drums, take you for a beer at one of our cool breweries, tell you about all there is to do, and perhaps even invite you to come and fill your freezer with food from the Our Best To You food sale. I promise, I’m harmless. I’m married, and you’re much too young for me anyway. 

And to everyone else, imagine how it feels to be new to a community and have someone invite you to something. One simple invitation made me more conscious of being more inclusive and inviting people who might not otherwise participate. I encourage you do the same. 

Tina Hennigar’s appears weekly on behalf of NOW Lunenburg. Reach her at Tina.Hennigar@gmail.com

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