HOT SPRINGS — Sponsoring a Fair Judging School, collecting for a food pantry and making knitted caps for newborns were among the outstanding record book projects recognized during the annual meeting of the Arkansas Extension Homemakers Council on Wednesday.
Extension Homemakers clubs and county councils in Jefferson, Desha, Grant and Cleveland counties were among the 83 local clubs and county councils honored during the awards ceremony held at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
The 5,000-member state Council is a volunteer organization associated with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. During 2012, the members contributed 600,000 hours of volunteer service statewide for an estimated value of more than $13,000,000. The Extension Homemakers organization offers its members opportunities for education, leadership development and service.
The theme for the annual meeting is “The Next 100 Years.” During 2012, the Council celebrated the 100th year of Home Demonstration/Extension Homemakers work in Arkansas. Those honored from Southeast Arkansas and their projects are:
Jefferson County Extension Homemakers Council: How to Judge at the County Fair – The Council became aware that there had not been a Fair Judging School in Jefferson County or the surrounding counties in several years. Several family and consumer sciences agents were asked to teach, along with members and others who had lots of expertise in their fields. All fair categories were covered. Lunch was provided for the 98 attendees and each received a copy of the newest Fair Judging Manual.
White Hall Willing Workers: Stroke Vests for Jefferson Regional Medical Center Rehabilitation Center – The club was asked by the program director for the Jefferson Regional Medical Center Rehabilitation Center at Pine Bluff to provide six stroke vests for use there. The stroke vests were to be used to help the patients learn to use their arms and hands after having a stroke. The members had four different meetings to work on the vests and were able to deliver 10 vests to the hospital. They were thanked personally by the program director and the nurses.
Grace Willing Workers: Helping Transformation Project’s Food Pantry – After voting to supply non-perishable food items to the Transformation Project Food Pantry, the club members brought items each month to meetings. The first goal was 100 items in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Home Demonstration/Extension Homemakers work in Arkansas; however, the club eventually donated 587 items, plus a couple of the members decided to work at the Food Pantry.
Camden Road Extension Homemakers Club: Christmas Hats for Babies – The club members discovered that there was a need for little knitted caps for newborn babies at the Jefferson Regional Medical Center. The caps were needed for the babies to keep their heads warm after birth in the hospital and when they left to go home with their families. They delivered enough hats for all newborns, not just needy families, and they plan to continue this project in the future.
McGehee Extension Homemakers Club: Feeding McGehee One Family at a Time – The project aided the McGehee Phoenix Resource Center, which was one of 12 sites around the nation to help provide food assistance to hungry children through the School Pantry Program. The Arkansas Food Bank received a grant from the Newman’s Own Company to help provide the food for this program. The Phoenix Center contacted the McGehee Extension Homemakers Club to help deliver this food to these children and their families. The club members helped by collecting egg cartons, grocery bags and boxes to get food safely to the homes. They helped distribute this food to families in McGehee who fulfilled the requirements for this program. The program now feeds approximately 40 families on a monthly basis.
Grant County Extension Homemakers Council: Helping With Grant County Fair – The members were involved in the process from the beginning to the end of the planning and execution of all phases of the fair. They assisted in planning the fair tabloid, in entering items in the fair, assisted the judges on judging day, acted as hostesses in the Home Economics Building and helped with exhibitor pickup at the end.
“Y” Extension Homemakers Club: Forestry Day Luncheon – The Cleveland County Soil Conservation District and National Resource Conservation Service held its forestry skills contest on March 9, 2012. The contest included students from area schools: Hampton, Hermitage, Lincoln County 4-H, Rison and Sparkman. The club members cooked barbecue and served sandwiches, chips, dessert and drinks to more than 100 high school students, teachers, judges and members of the staff.
Rison Extension Homemakers Club: Ronald McDonald House – The club chose supporting the Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock as its community service project, providing toiletry items for families staying there and paying for a night’s lodging for a family. The club will continue to donate items and food throughout the year. These donations are helping to make the stay of parents a little more comfortable and maybe help to ease the strain on their pocketbooks.
Cleveland County Extension Homemakers Council: April Showers Decorating Tips – This program was to share easy, affordable decorating ideas and tasty finger foods and beverages appropriate for all-occasion showers. The ideas would be presented at several meetings held at the Methodist Church Life Center and each of the county clubs would provide presenters for these demonstrations. The program enabled the Council to share low-cost baby and wedding shower decorating tips, as well as attractive and tasty finger foods appropriate for the occasions. Information about Extension Homemakers is available by visiting the website at http://arextensionhomemakers.org or calling a county Extension office.
The Cooperative Extension Service is part of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.