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Totten”HUG” helps residents stay positive

February 3, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Roughly 150 people embraced in a group hug at the main intersection in Tottenham on Saturday afternoon. Totten“HUG” 2016 is the brainchild of Rob Farah, a long-time Tottenham resident who says he needed to take a break from negativity. The event was a major success, and will likely become an annual event in Tottenham.


By Wendy Gabrek
With so much drama and negativity going on, don’t you just need a hug?
That’s what organizers from the Tottenham and New Tecumseth Community Group – a  group founded on Facebook and currently administrated by Darrin McCutcheon, as a forum for residents to gather information, share ideas and sometimes rant – thought, too.
On Saturday at noon, roughly 150 people came together at the four corners (Queen Street at Mill Street) to gather for a group hug.
Everyone also brought a donation for the Our Town Food Bank, that currently serves more than 100 families in Tottenham and Beeton monthly.
Town of New Tecumseth Mayor Rick Milne, Tottenham Councillor, Chris Ross, and Beeton Councillor, Richard Norcross, were on hand for the event, too, giving and receiving hugs willingly.
Members of the Tottenham Steam hockey team were also there, as well as business professionals, entire family groups and people who just wandered in needing a hug.
Totten“HUG” 2016 is the brainchild of Rob Farah, a member of the Facebook page group, and 22-year resident of Tottenham.
“There’s been a lot of negativity going on in our community since Christmas,” Farah told The Times. “Between the truck crashing into our storefronts, the water issues, and the negative comments being posted online, I felt we should all just get together and hug it out.”
Farah said that he wanted people to get away from their computer screens and meet with their neighbours face-to-face.
“Let’s turn it all around,” Farah said of the negative feelings that are easily created when we don’t have to face each other.
During the hug, Farah let go of a “Smiley Face” balloon, his symbol for “the love we have for each other.”
The event captured the attention of several media outlets, including the local FM radio station, and CTV Barrie, who praised Farah for his simple, yet highly affective approach to the issues facing Tottenham residents, and the build-up of bad feelings that have been created.
With the success of the event, and the number of posts to Facebook where residents promise their attendance in 2017, Farah is thinking of making Totten“HUG” an annual event.
He also believes other towns should be following his lead, and crating opportunities like Totten“HUG” to get people outdoors, meeting their neighbours and hugging away any tension.
On Facebook, Rob Farah posted this statement following the event:
“… I want to thank everyone for participating either in town, at your house, on Facebook or wherever you were. I truthfully was overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement that I did receive for Totten“HUG” 2016. A huge thank you for the ton of food that was donated to the (Our Town) Food Bank. There are a few people that I would like to mention: first off Susan Richmond Farah, Michelle Farah, Rick Milne, Chris Ross, Richard Norcross, Stephanie Tsicos 92.1 MyFM,  Rock 95.7, The Tottenham Steam GM Ryan Wood, Brad Pritchard from the Herald, thank you for your support. If I have missed anyone I am sorry Here is a {{{{{HHHHHUUUUUGGGG}}}}}} to everyone.”

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