Maralyn Driver is shown serving fruit crisps to attendees during a village supper back in 2014. The Tatamagouche Pastoral Charge, Creamery Square Arts Society, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 64, and Odd Fellows Liberty Lodge are working together to bring the village supper back to the community. Submitted photo

The village supper is making its return.

Rev. Penny Nelson, with the Tatamagouche Pastoral Charge, said many members of the Brule Union, Bayhead Union, and Sharon United churches have been asking recently what happened to the village suppers started about four years ago now.

“One of the main themes that emerged from those comments is that people wanted to see a revamp of the village supper,” said Nelson.

“Personally, I felt the need was there again, for people to have access to nutritional food, and to get people in the community together,” added Maralyn Driver, a member of the charge but who is also on board through the Creamery Square Arts Society.

Started in the winter of 2014, the village suppers ran for about a year, giving people a chance to get together with friends and family, to meet new people, to have a nutritious meal, and to get out of the house. The original organizers – Nelson, Shelley LeFresne, Bernice MacLeod, and Donelda Lepper – were concerned about people having good, healthy food, as well as the loneliness many face over the winter months. They hosted the dinners at the firehall, while cooking out of the Sharon United Church. They continued as long as they could before taking a step back.

Now, the revamp will see the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 64 being the location of the meals, with all the cooking done on site.

“The suppers were well attended in previous years,” said Nelson. “Our lowest numbers were in the 60’s, and that was even in a blizzard.”

Along with the Legion coming on board, the Odd Fellows Liberty Lodge are lending a hand cooking the meal at the end of March.

“There’s a greater need this year, because of the weather,” said Odd Fellow Jimmie LeFresne, Past Grand Master of Atlantic Canada and Sovereign Grand of Atlantic Canada. “If we can relieve some of the stress surrounding food, that could leave more money for oil, for heating. This is really a way of getting into the community and doing some community work.”

Terry Hovey, another Odd Fellow, said it was a “grand idea” in connecting with the Legion and having them at the local branch.

“Some people don’t want to go to a church supper, so with the Legion, it’s a different connection. It’s non-denominational,” Hovey said.

“All of these groups are committed to the caring of and for the community,” said Nelson. “Everyone wears more than one hat. In rural communities, you can expect people to come together and that’s really what the village supper is about.”

The supper, she says, is open to everyone who wants to eat supper with others.

“It doesn’t matter if you have fridge in your food that day. It doesn’t matter if you have family around to eat with. Everyone is welcome,” she said.

“It’s the same idea as the Christmas at the Creamery,” Hovey added.

“It’s coming out together to eat,” said LeFresne.

Along with the supper, there will be various activities for attendees to participate in if they so choose.

Volunteers are still being sought for the dinner, with something for everyone to have a hand in. Volunteers, said LeFresne, don’t have to be there all day.

“There are different aspects to help out with,” he said.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Maralyn Driver at 902-657-0330.

The first dinner will be held March 31, 4:30-6 p.m., at the Royal Canadian Legion in Tatamagouche. There is no cost to attend, and all are welcome. The menu will feature shepherd’s pie, bread, berry crisp and ice cream, coffee and tea. The organizers are trying their best to provide a vegetarian option, as well as a gluten-free option.

Following the March supper, plans are in the works for a second supper later in the spring before taking a break for the summer. Plans are to resume the suppers in the fall.