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January 27, 2023 5 minute READ

20 Sweet Years of Giving

tags Inspiration | Local Flavor
locations All

“Sweetheart” is one of the oldest terms of endearment in the English language. For most of the time the phrase has existed, there’s no surprise that its literal meaning has been associated with foods that conjure the pleasingly “sweet” sensation of love itself.

In the late 1300s, Geoffrey Chaucer in The Canterbury Tales, one of the first major written works of English literature, told of a love-starved suitor who pursues the object of his affection. 

Before he embarks on a morning jaunt that leads him to her window, “he chewed some licorice and spice / So he’d smell sweet,” goes the story.
He then calls up to her, “What do you, honeycomb… My cinnamon, my fair bird, my sweetie,” before proclaiming a deep hunger in his heart and on his stomach.

“Truly, sweetheart, I have such love-longing / That like a turtle-dove’s my true yearning; / And I can eat no more than can a maid,” he says. 

While those who recognize this classic Canterbury Tale know that there’s much more going on between this famished admirer and his beloved (not in the least a husband, a second admirer, and a humorously deployed red-hot poker), who’s to say that this doesn’t explain how sweets first came to be paired with expressions of love? Maybe this well-known story inspired the exchange of sweets between lovers and admirers so the appetite we lose during our “love-sick longing” can be, at least symbolically, satisfied by something sweet and tasty to our tastebuds and filling to our tummies.

Or maybe that’s not the case at all. Maybe the connection came from elsewhere, much farther down the long road of literature and love. Still, it’s fun to romanticize how the things closest to the heart, and, for that matter, the stomach, of human existence came to be. And anyway, isn’t romance the whole point of Valentine’s Day after all?

Celebrate the Day with Sweets for Your Sweetheart(s)!

The meaning of Valentine’s Day has evolved over the years to include celebrating sweethearts in their many forms – not only your romantic relationships, but also your kids, friends, pets, parents, and anyone who brings joy, inspiration, and special meaning to your life. It’s always a great thing to acknowledge love in its broadest form and give back in a show of support and appreciation to those who give to you.

One aspect of the holiday that hasn’t changed, however, is the exchange of candy in celebration of love, admiration, and appreciation. Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is the only acceptable holiday of the year for adults to overindulge in candy. (We’ll reserve Halloween, Easter, and Christmas as the big candy days for all the kids although they certainly share this one, too.) No matter who you’re celebrating, candy is, and has long been, a thoughtful way to say, “Thank you for being you.”

Join the Mast Store in Making a Sweet Difference in Your Community

Be a Sweetheart, February 11-12, 2023The Mast Store has celebrated Valentine’s Day with its Be a Sweetheart campaign for 20 years now.

Be a Sweetheart provides food security partners throughout Mast General Store’s region with $1 for every pound of bulk candy purchased the weekend before Valentine’s Day. This year, the event runs February 11 – 12 at every Mast Store location. 

While a buck may not sound like a lot, the Mast Store’s partners can make the most of a dollar through their network purchasing power. Each dollar can return up to $10 in food value and purchase an average of five meals for individuals and families.

The following is a list of our partnering food security agencies and the Mast Store locations that are supporting them for 2023’s Be a Sweetheart campaign: Hunger and Health Coalition (Boone and Valle Crucis stores); MANNA FoodBank (Waynesville, Hendersonville, and Asheville stores); Loaves & Fishes (Greenville); Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee (Knoxville); Harvest Hope (Columbia); Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina (Winston-Salem); and Feeding Southwest Virginia (Roanoke).

In addition to providing meals, our food bank partners help their clients learn how to be smart shoppers and put together healthy menus on a budget. Some even offer clients a hand-up with opportunities to find work in the food service industry. 

At such an important time of year to make sure everyone has warm meals on their tables, you can also help our partners meet their clients’ food needs by rounding your transactions up to the next dollar at all Mast Store locations from February 10 until Valentine's Day, February 14. 

These donations of pocket change add up to help each agency achieve its goals of feeding our neighbors and making our communities safer and happier places for all. 

As we celebrate the many different types of meaningful relationships in our lives this Valentine’s Day, let’s remember to include the relationship we have with our neighbors and our fellow community members among them. Whether you’re rounding up your transaction or purchasing a pound of candy, contributing to your neighbors’ well-being is as sweet as it is essential to keeping our homes wonderful places for all to live, and we hope that this year’s Mast Store’s Be a Sweetheart event fills everyone’s appetites and hearts!

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