Allen County Extension Homemakers to celebrate 100 years

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN -- The Allen County Extension Homemakers will celebrate 100 years in 2016. Launched in 1916 as an outreach of the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and the US Department of Agriculture, the Extension Homemakers focus on leadership development, volunteer community support, and continuing education.

February 9, 1916, was the organizational meeting for the first club, Woman’s Country Club, in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Harlan, IN. Forty-three women were charter members and the club grew to 73 members. Washington Township was the 2nd registered club in 1916.  Jolly Housewives organized in 1918 and the Marion Homemakers in 1919. At its peak in the 1960’s there were 121 clubs and 2650 members. Today there are 21 clubs and 247 members and mailbox members.

The Extension Homemakers are dedicated to empowering and enriching the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Educational workshops are hosted monthly from September thru May at the Allen County Extension Office with topics addressing issues on health, foods and nutrition, family resource management, human development, and leadership development which are open to the public. Special interest lessons are also offered January thru May.

Extension Homemakers hold monthly meetings in their communities and in 2015 contributed 4285 volunteer hours in their leadership roles, providing needed items to the Christ Child Society, Community Harvest Food Bank Senior Packs, Riley and Parkview hospitals, A Baby’s Closet, Organ Donors, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, and teddy bears. This equates to a monetary contribution of $102,840 to these agencies.

They sponsor and coordinate the Open Class exhibits, Home and Family Arts Day, the pie baking contest, and Kid’s Day crafts, at the Allen County Fair annually.

They provide $500 scholarships to graduating high school seniors enrolling at Purdue University, West Lafayette or IPFW in the College of Health and Human Sciences. The proceeds for the scholarship were raised from their cookbook sales, ‘Family Favorites.”  In recognition of the 100th anniversary, the cookbook was reprinted and is available for $15. The deadline for the scholarship application is May 1.

A gala celebration will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2016 in the IPFW Walb Union Classic Ballroom from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The day will feature a presentation on the history of the Extension Homemakers’, the mayor’s proclamation, and Eric Olson with his program on “Life’s Better Here.” A formal dinner and written history book will recognize the members and guests.  To register, contact the Allen County Extension Office at 260-481-6826. Cost is $17.00.  Registration deadline is April 22.