by Kalie Ammons
In January of 1913, a group of people who believed in “the present and its opportunities, in the future and its promises [and] in everything that makes life large and lovely” came together to create the Indiana Home Economics Association. Fifty-three years later, the group changed their name to the Indiana Extension Homemaker’s Association, and they still hold true to these values.
The group has learned practical lessons from the start. Common lessons years ago were hat making, sewing, butter churning and operation on a budget. New lessons consist of: the use of credit/debit/gift cards, ID theft and account fraud, foods - the healthy way, and human development.
Wabash County EH Clubs were organized in 1923. Currently, there are four active clubs and one associate club, including Happy Homemaker’s, Kountry Kaleidoscope, Liberty Bells, Richvalley and Riverside.
The clubs make an effort to volunteer as much as possible. The clubs have served for Bloodmobile, Riley Hospital, Relay for Life, Helping Hands, the 4-H Fair, museums, the Clean Water Project, Shop with a Cop and many more.
The IEHA is presently involved with the Cancer Research Endowment Fund. After learning Purdue University had a cancer research center, committee members wanted to make a difference. IEHA started an endowment fund, and every cent of the money raised goes to cancer research. In 2010, the association set a five-year goal to raise $100,000 statewide. To date, IEHA has reached approximately $80,000.
The state of Indiana is divided into nine districts. Leaders in Wabash County are: Mary Ruth Mendenhall, Diana Woodward, Jane Long, Cindy Beard, Ellie Draper, Linda Landis, Lori Miller, CeCe Wood, Bonita Kirtlan, Jean Sneed, Janet Pattee and Ruth Dyson. Teresa Witkoske is the Extension Educator.
The late Joyce Brewer was also an Extension Homemakers Leader and the only Wabash County member to hold the office of IEHA president.
The association is always welcoming new members. If interested, call 260-563-0661 ext. 1408 or contact an officer.