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Extension memories to be celebrated Jan. 23

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By Maryellen Garrison

They have worked to improve our lifestyle through new cooking ideas and recipes, community projects and cultural advancement, and this year the Henry County Homemakers will celebrate their 73rd year and on Sunday, Jan. 23, from 2-4 p.m., we will be recognizing Extension Leaders from Homemakers, 4-H and Agriculture at a special reception to be held at Twin Oaks Assisted Living here in New Castle.
In 1939, when Bina Baird Foree was being considered for the position of County Home Demonstration Agent, the Fiscal Court was also debating which it needed most - Foree or a furnace stoker for the courthouse. At that time, it cost $500 to get an Extension Agent for the county and apparently that was also the price of a new stoker. According to old reports,  Jimmy Thomas, the late, former county attorney, tried to persuade Fiscal Court to choose hiring Foree instead of purchasing the stoker, and ultimately, Foree was selected as the agent. Jimmy Thomas called Bina Foree ‘Stoker’ from then on.
Franklinton was the first club organized by Foree. She would report that “I remember we didn’t have a great big attendance, maybe about 11 or 12.”  But according to Foree, that first organized club was a close knit group. “There wasn’t a single soul there that wasn’t related to someone else in the room,” said Foree.
After Franklinton was established, Foree pioneered a second club in Jericho and then started to campaign in each community in an effort to start other homemaker clubs.  After completing her county-wide campaign, Foree had helped establish 11 homemaker clubs.
The first annual meeting was at the picture show building in Eminence and the report is that it was -19 degrees and there were 89 members there.  That was dedication.
The homemakers also adopted the war-time slogan, “Make the Farm Feed the Family” and they implemented gardening lessons, canning seminars and milk supply programs.  The homemakers participated in a mattress making program designed to provide low income families who made no more than $600 per year with a homemade mattress. There were 700 mattresses made for families in the county that year. The south had a surplus of cotton and it was shipped up here to be used in the mattresses.
If you would like to learn more about early Extension programs or would like to come and share a favorite memory about early Extension programs then mark your calendar for 2-4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 23!

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability, or national origin.