Jefferson County Extension Homemakers to celebrate the holidays

The Jefferson County Extension Homemakers will kick off the holiday-cooking season with their annual Holiday Foods event at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 412 W. Sixth Ave.

The cost to attend is $10, which includes an EHC cookbook. The event will include door prizes and a tasting party of foods selected from the cookbook.

This year’s special guest speaker will be the first lady of Arkansas, Ginger Beebe. Long before she was first lady of Arkansas, Beebe exemplified volunteerism. From reading to children to promote literacy and raising awareness about mental health issues, to advocating for people with special needs, as well as supporting the arts, she continues to support causes that are important to the people of Arkansas.

In 2007, Beebe conducted a listening tour with families whose children suffer from mental illness, and she continues her involvement with the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Arkansas by chairing NAMI Walks each year.

She is currently involved with groups that share her goal of reducing childhood obesity. She served as honorary chair of the Natural Wonders Partnership Council, an Arkansas Children’s Hospital group that addresses the health needs of children in the state of Arkansas. She is working with other leaders to promote First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. She advocates the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise when she visits school children.

Beebe was born at Little Rock and raised in Searcy before moving to the Governor’s Mansion. Being adopted as a child motivated her passion for women’s and children’s issues. She is a member of the Advisory Board for Women and Children First, and in 2011, she was honored as the organization’s Woman of the Year. Her previous honors include being named Hospital Auxiliary Volunteer of the Year, CARTI Champion Award, receiving the Arkansas Respiratory Health Association’s Lung Health Advancement Award, the Paragon Award for volunteerism, and recipient of the Interfaith Hospitality Network Homeless Advocate of the Year.

The EHC Holiday Foods committee includes Judy Cox, chairman; Bettye Johnson, arrangements; Jo Ann Carr and Marnette Reed, cookbook; Mary Nell Cardin, Mary Smith, Dixie Fritz, Peggi Barbaree, Sarah Payton, Nancy Sumner, Patsy Wallace, Connie Herrin, Kathy Rogers, Nancy Rosen, Debbie James, Catherine Atkinson, Sandy Smith, Dorothy Green, Sabrina Self-Gwin and Vernita Self. Mary Ann Kizer serves as adviser.

To purchase tickets in advance, call 870-534-1033. Extra cookbooks will also be available for purchase for $5.

The Jefferson County Extension Homemakers clubs are open to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability,martial or veteran status, or any other legally protected status.