by Amie Sites
Similar interests, past memorabilia and historic displays will be highlighted at the Cass County Homemakers Spring Fling. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Cass County 4-H Community Center to celebrate the state homemaker association’s 100th anniversary.
Connie Stevens, Cass County Extension Homemaker president, Sharon Samuels, Cass County Extension Homemaker secretary, and Pat Lefebure, of Clay Township Homemakers of Cass County, gathered to look through past newspapers, booklets and meeting agendas in preparation for Thursday’s spring program.
Looking back at the history has been entertaining, Stevens said. A home extension planning booklet has been published each year since 1946.
“The old crafts, arts are being lost,” Stevens said. “Canning and gardening, to me, are necessities.”
The Cass County Indiana Extension Homemakers Association was developed a century years ago to facilitate what homemakers do, Lefebure said. The Cass County clubs, usually named after the township or location they’re from, have a mission to strengthen families through continuing education, leadership development and volunteer community support.
“A lot of people don’t know Homemakers exist,” Lefebure said. “It’s a good, informative organization and we are able to do a lot of service projects.”
Some of those projects include three scholarships totaling $1,500, donating almost $10,000 to the renovation of the 4-H community center and $1,000 to a state IEHA-sponsored water bottle project. They also furnish the prizes for one of the local winter blood drives and have the only permanent 4-H Fair food booth on the fairgrounds.
Memorabilia including newspapers, yearly booklets and cookbooks will be placed on the tables at the spring fling event for guests to peruse.
Stevens smiled as she described a cookbook the county published in 1926 that had recipes for vinegar pie and ammonia cookies and several recipes which called for butter the size of an egg, another the size of a hickory nut.
The name has changed over the years, but the organization has had the same mission. The club started as the Cass County Federation of Clubs, then became Home Economics Extension Clubs of Indiana and today is known as the Cass County Extension Homemakers, Lefebure said.
The Extension homemakers do many other activities including sponsoring a craft show in November and exhibiting crafts and foods in the Extension-sponsored display at the 4-H Fair.
Stevens said the highest number of members was in 1951 when there were 1,044 people.
“Current members are aging and young ladies are too busy,” Lefebure said. “People’s interest have changed and a lot of people don’t know about club.”
Lefebure said they are trying to attract new members because the clubs are getting smaller. Lefebure, a member for 23 years, said she enjoys the people. Twelve clubs remain in existence today.
Those Extension clubs meet monthly in different areas. Those interested in joining or attending the spring fling can call the Extension office at 753-7750.
“Homemakers have been very instrumental to Cass County,” Stevens said. “They’ve been instrumental to progress and growth.”
Amie Sites is community news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 574-732-5150.
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