The Indiana Extension Homemakers Association celebrated their heritage the week of Oct. 18-23, 2021.  Each year, a week in October is set aside to celebrate their past, present, and future.  Their mission is to strengthen families through continuing education, leadership development, and volunteer community support.  The organization began in 1913 as a result of rural women having a great desire to improve conditions for themselves and for their families.  The result was the forming of home economics clubs all over the state with Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service providing the education.
A sample of the many topics shared are:  home management, child care, new techniques in churning butter; use of patterns, and selecting and arranging the furnishings of the home.  We may no longer need lessons regarding churning butter, however, current lessons do include all aspects of home management, including personal finance, using technology effectively, preparing healthy meals, leadership skills and topics related to the various stages of life.  
Throughout their history, the Extension Homemakers have also been very involved in serving their communities in a variety of ways.  
One of the ways they promote literacy is through their First Books for Kids program, which originated in 2001.  Twenty years later, homemakers throughout the state of Indiana purchase books for preschoolers and read to them on a monthly basis.  The book that is read during the month is the book that they are given to take home.  Many counties also provide a book bag for them to carry their books home.  This provides the children an opportunity to begin building their own library and encourages them to read at home.
As I was reviewing the book, “Our History. . .100 Years of IEHA,” I found Rush County highlighted in 1936.  The picture shows the Rush County exhibit at the 1936 Indiana State Fair.  The fair exhibit emphasized kitchen improvement and expanding and using electricity.  The title of the Rush County display was Electricity in Rush County Removes Drudgery in 253 Farm Kitchens.  The display also included tips about modernizing and adding electricity to the kitchen.  
Modernization may have a very different look today, however, Purdue Extension continues to offer programs related to this topic and the kitchen.  One of the current programs offered is Cooking Under Pressure.  This program highlights using the electric programmable pressure cooker.  Some educators are also offering programs on the Electric Fryer and other equipment that may “remove drudgery.”
Currently, Rush County has seven Extension Homemakers clubs.  Club membership is open to adults in our community.  Clubs meet in different areas of the county with some meeting during the day and others meeting at night.  Rush County Extension Homemakers participate in county activities, as well as district meetings and the Home and Family Conference (state conference).  If you are interested in joining a club or having more information, please contact Purdue Extension—Rush County at 765-932-5974.