Mar Women’s Institute Donates to Local Community Groups

Martha Martell, Susan White, Gerty Purdy present a cheque to Darlene Myles for the Lion’s Head Foodbank.

Submitted by Mar Women’s Institute

It is a Happy New Year for the Mar Women’s Institute who are making donations to our local community groups. This past week this group have met and handed cheques to the Lion’s Head Foodbank and to The Badge of Life.

 The Lion’s Head Foodbank operates out of the old Eastnor school, or the Revival Centre, on highway 6 on the Ferndale Flats. The thrift shop is open in the main building while the foodbank operates on a client system. Volunteer Darlene Myles is the one to contact by email, text: 519-378-8842 or her home phone 519-793-3443. Once on the list, food can be delivered or picked up at the thrift store location. They strive for once a month supply which includes the usual canned supplies, cereals, peanut butter, dry goods. 

The cash donations go towards the fresh produce that is bought at Foodland in Lion’s Head. There is fruit, milk, eggs and meat provided. So if you don’t think canned food is all that healthy remember your cash goes for fresh food. The BPDS school in Lion’s Head always does their foodbank donations after Christmas which helps clients get through the cold winters. In turn the foodbank helps students in need with hygiene supplies such as soaps, facial cleansers and deodorant. A big thank you goes to Darlene for all her time as she still works and takes care of her family.

The next big donation went to the Badge of Life located in the Ferndale commercial area. Lynne and Bill Rusk run this Canadian organization from this location. It is a support system for workers of our first responders, police and corrections. We count on people to keep us safe, but those workers have very little support to keep them safe from what they experience on the job. It started in Ottawa in 2010 and now the Rusks have been carrying on since 2015. 

We watch violent movies or read thriller books but in real life, the heroes cannot keep going from one extreme event to another without being affected by what they have experienced. It has always been a “you get paid lots for this job so suck it up” attitude. This is a peer related group that also have the accessibility to get the right professional help. The Badge of Life motto is “Strength in Numbers”, you are not alone and this does not mean you are weak but that you are a caring human being looking after other human beings in the communities in which we all live. It is a mental health awareness and the changes in life to cope with damaging experiences. Being peer motivated means a sharing of actual lives. No one is alone so families whether genetic or co -workers, social media friends and community groups become aware of the signs of suicide and the downward spiral that leads to it. 

Lynne and Bill run the Canada wide office which we have right here on the peninsula. What a beautiful spot for health and healing! They also hold classes and conferences all across the country. 

Other countries such as the UK, Ireland and Australia are asking how to start such an organization for their people. It is a world wide need. Their base of professional help is getting bigger as more come aboard and recognize the need for their police and first responders even war damaged citizens. It is giving the help that these folks need right from their own communities. It is set up so that once created in a community these folks can have the resources right there to help themselves and perhaps help other communities do the same. 

The Badge of Life is now a registered charity with the website being

Bill Rusk and Lynne Rusk from Badge of Life Canada accept a donation from Susan White, Gerty Purdy and Martha Martell from the Mar Women’s Institute.