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Homemaker clubs study, share ideas

The Corydon Democrat continues its new feature for this year, ‘Top 26 of 2006,’ that takes a look at 26 people, places or things that our readers suggested make Harrison County a great place to live or work. The remaining six stories will be published before the end of the year.
In 1913, an organization was formed to help women make Indiana home life better. Originally known as the Indiana Home Economics Association and later changed to the Indiana Extension Homemakers Association, the service expanded to Harrison County.
Women in the river town of Mauckport were the first to organize a Homemakers club in Harrison County. Initially, the club was called the Mauckport Nutrition Club. Since its formation, more than 160 people have belonged to the Mauckport Homemakers club.
Other clubs popped up throughout the county. In 1927, there were 10 of them; at one time, there were as many as 33.
Social activities sponsored by Homemakers were suspended during World War II; instead, many of the club members devoted their time and energy to help with war efforts, such as making bandages and sewing.
Homemakers clubs aren’t just for women. Membership is available to anyone.
Nina Faith, who suggested the Homemakers’ program as a Top 26, said, Homemakers clubs ‘provide their members and other interested people with lessons and programs that are very helpful to their families.’
Special-interest lessons in 2006 included one about Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, presented by John Dreier, district manager of the Social Security district office in New Albany. Another, presented by Mary Alice Sharp, Washington County Extension educator, was titled ‘It’s My Money You Are Using’ that explained options for persons faced with handling financial affairs for their parents or other relatives who can no longer manage the responsibility on their own.
There are usually lessons about food, too. Faith said that Nancy Casada, Extension educator for Harrison County, gave one called ‘Grilling Indoors the Easy Way’ that demonstrated how to enjoy foods from electric indoor grill appliances.
In the early 1980s, the Homemakers association had 44,539 members statewide. But as times changed and more women went to work outside the home, membership declined by almost 50 percent and the number of clubs decreased throughout the state.
Faith, who joined the Mauckport club in 1993, has said that the idea behind the organization has remained the same.
‘We are just a bunch of women with the same aim ‘ to put together our ideas for the betterment of our families,’ she said.
Clubs also take on projects, such as the Carnival for Cancer that benefits the American Cancer Society. Other undertakings include an angel tree at Christmas, promotion of breast cancer awareness and organ donation, and a cookie bake for the Mental Health Association.
County clubs join together a couple of times a year for events like International Day, which includes displays about foreign countries. And some Homemakers invite other clubs, especially those from out of county to visit them and exchange ideas.
Homemakers clubs are affiliated with Purdue University, where the Indiana Extension Homemakers Association is headquartered.
For more information about the Homemakers association and local clubs, contact Casada at 738-4236.