Teambuilding Through Snacks: Behind the Scenes at Sewcialists

Warning: There’s pretty much no sewing content in this post!

The team that runs the Sewcialists — the Editors, the Copy-Editors, and Columnist Extraordinaire Gabby — uses Slack to keep ourselves organized. We have channels (think of them as rooms for different conversations) for all the sorts of things you might expect: planning theme months and series, scheduling posts, submitting posts for copy-editing, managing Instagram, etc. But, true to form for a group called Sewcialists (which originated as a hybrid of sew + socialize), we can get CHATTY. We never stay on topic for very long! So we have a bunch of other channels for things like pet pictures, parenting, knitting, and truly random conversations.

One thing that keeps popping up in our Random channel is food, especially snack food, from our respective countries. We find ourselves in deep discussions of Nanaimo bars and poutine and butter tarts, Tim Tams and ANZAC biscuits, Mexican Coke and Trader Joe’s, and more kinds of chocolate bar than you can shake a stick at.

And then, in the middle of the US Election, there was a viral tweet about Emotional Support Canadians being on standby:

Screencap of a tweet, reading: 
"Dear America: Emotional Support Canadians are on standby. If you have not yet received your Emotional Support Canadian, one will be assigned to you shortly. [Canada flag emoji]"
Tweet screencap via knowyourmeme

Several members of the Sewcialists team ARE Canadian, and as the viral tweet turned into a meme and spread around the internet, the idle conversations about snack food turned into a more concrete idea.

We COULD actually send treats to each other, as a tangible gesture of support in this bizarro year.

Our team fluctuates over time, but at the time of this brainwave, we had several Canadians, several Americans, and also people from Australia, Hong Kong, the UK, and France, so it wasn’t JUST going to be Canadians plying Americans with ketchup chips and Coffee Crisp bars and pepperettes. We decided that this should be properly international, so pretty soon we had a sign-up sheet of who wanted to participate, where they were, and what dietary restrictions they had, and I was doing the mental sudoku puzzle of trying to pair everyone with a different international person to shop for and person to receive from. (Of course, there was no obligation to participate or to spend a certain amount — though postage probably costs more than the treats in some cases.)

As I write, a package of vegan treats, mostly from local producers in my part of Canada, is winging its way to Copy-Editor Rachel in the US. (Spoiler alert: there is maple sugar involved.) Rachel is sending goodies to Editor Sophy in Hong Kong, who is sending a package to Copy-Editor Paula in the US; Paula is sending treats to Editor Gillian in Canada; and so on until all 12 participants are covered.

Posting liquid maple syrup is potentially messy, so Rachel’s getting granulated maple sugar from this local-to-me farm. (Shh, don’t tell her!) Pro tip from this Canadian: stir a little maple sugar into a cup of chai tea for a really international treat.

I did warn you that this post had nothing to do with sewing! But it has everything to do with being social and supporting each other in frivolous ways (underpinned by much deeper emotional and social support) through what has been a very, very strange and difficult year. For some of our temp Editors, this will be one of the last hare-brained Sewcialists schemes they get caught up in; for some of our newer ones, this is a literal taste of the silly fun that the team can get up to behind the scenes.

Last year, Gabby surprised me with a handmade Christmas ornament for my tree.
And Chloe blew me away with #allchestswelcome sewing supplies AND some Australian goodies to snack on!

I love and treasure all the different connections I’ve made through Sewcialists. I’ve made handknit gifts and sent little enamel pins and other things to team members in the past, too, as tangible reminders of friendship and support. So I love that this year, of all years, we’ve found a way to treat each other on an even larger scale! Happy snacking, Sewcialists Team!

Anne is the Lead Copy-Editor and Chief Instigator of Snack Swapping at the Sewcialists. She and her ridiculous dog (and at this time of year, piles of festive baking) are on Instagram at @anniebeeknits.