Greenlawn Goodwill Ladies’ Club
The Greenlawn Goodwill Ladies’ Club hosted a garage sale at the Dewberry Senior’s Centre on March 16. Remaining items from this year’s garage sale on March 16, are being donated to the Onion Lake Thrift Store, which also runs a food bank and a soup kitchen.
The club is celebrating 75 years this year. It was created in January of 1948 by a group of 22 farm women living in rural Alberta north of Dewberry (the Greenlawn area). They started a ladies club for social and functional benefit as well as to provide goodwill in the community. They catered community events, and made and donated quilts to local families who had experienced house fires. The club is still doing all of this and even has one founding member (Gertrude Blacklock, at 93-years-old who resides at the Vermilion Valley Lodge).
“When you live in a small rural community, friends and neighbours are just like family,” said Cynthia Blacklock who is the secretary-treasurer and has been a member for 45 years.
Along with some of the others, Leona Fulton is a second-generation member. Being a small community, the club finds they are still called upon for their service.
“We raise funds that stay in the community, whether it goes to support someone with an ill family member, first responders, etc.; anywhere we feel these funds are needed,” said president Brenda Pegg, who joined the club after being new to the community 13 years ago.
As well as their local contributions, the club has been contributing to organizations like the Stollery, STARS, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, the Cross Cancer Institute, and Haying in the 30’s for years. Through the pandemic, they said their funds stayed entirely in the community.
Originally they used to cater in a hall that had no running water. They now are back to having 22 members but have been up to 30 at times. Through the years they’ve had over 90 members with some coming and going, and others staying a long time.
Monthly meetings are held to discuss any fundraising or community events, and offer time for socialization such as their plant exchange; secret pals (who surprise each other through the year for their birthday anonymously, etc. until they find out at the end of the year); field trips to greenhouses, yard tours, or the Ukrainian Village; or guest speakers. The group has a lot of fun together and to raise funds, they host garage sales; a spring tea; and cater things like the 1st of July picnic, fall supper, or funeral lunches - and they even have their own cookbook. If they hear of anyone ill or bereaved in the community, they have sunshine girls write cards to them. When they started they met in people’s homes, and are looking at returning to that style saying it is more personable.
“There is a comradery; you’ve got a tribe. If you are trying something you haven’t done, there are so many resources,” said Pegg.
“The knowledge the young ones learn from the others is unbelievable; what we’ve learned over the years and passed down is awesome,” said Blacklock.
The tight-knit group of ladies ranging from ages 24-93 and acts as a support group.
“You don’t have to be a quilter, or fabulous cook to belong; it’s about friendship,” said Fulton.
They will be hosting their Spring Tea on May 6, celebrating their 75 years of service.