HALIFAX -- While the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many people apart, it has brought an unlikely pair together in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

Nan Smith started making face masks in the spring and hangs them daily on a clothesline in her front yard in Port Williams, N.S.

People come from all over to take a mask from Smith’s clothesline, free of charge, though a donation box is on site for people who want to contribute. The donations help Smith purchase fabric to make more masks.

Last month, while going through her donation box at the end of the day, Smith found a special thank-you letter. The letter, penned in crayon, was from a little girl named Emma.

“It was just so heartfelt,” said Smith. “All the other notes are just as important, and of course the donations, but that letter from little Emma has meant everything to us.”

The letter brought so much joy to Smith’s life that she set out to find Emma in the hopes of meeting her in person and thanking her personally for her kind note.

Smith spent weeks searching for Emma and, with the help of social media and a local radio station, she managed to track her down.

Smith admits she had trouble sleeping the night before their visit.

“I was too excited!” she said.

Smith and eight-year-old Emma Benedict had instant chemistry when they met for the first time on Tuesday at Smith’s home.

Within minutes, the pair exchanged gifts and then spent part of the day chatting and hanging masks on Smith’s clothesline.

When Emma asked Smith how many masks she makes in a day, she was shocked by her answer.

“Well, I make about 50 or 60 in a day, but in total I have made 2,068,” Smith told the girl.

“Whoa, that’s a lot!” Emma replied.

Masks are mandatory in indoor public places in Nova Scotia and Emma has a message for those in the Annapolis Valley who are in need of one.

“Come to Nan’s and get a mask!”