Extension Homemakers Volunteer During Pandemic
by Mary Ann Kizer, Jefferson County Family & Consumer Sciences Agent - February 16, 2021
With the record number of COVID-19 cases, Extension has gone back to pre-summer
guidelines for crucial in-person meetings of 10 people or less. The pandemic has
not stopped the Extension Homemakers throughout Arkansas from performing much needed
community service projects.
Jefferson County Extension Homemakers volunteers are truly angels for many reasons.
Their volunteer efforts cover a myriad of projects. Their volunteer hours provide
over $4 million in community service projects for Jefferson County. EHC members are
sharing their time, talents, and financial resources to help those in need.
For the past several years, EHC members have met with the County Judge to present
him an enlarged mock check for the value of their community service. The County Judge
always remembers the EHC members because they deliver over 60 dozen cookies to police
and fire departments, EMT’s, news media – including newspaper and radio, Mayor’s
offices, and the County Judge’s office in appreciation for their service.
In non-pandemic times, EHC members assist me with Family & Consumer Sciences programs
such as monthly Mediterranean Cooking Classes and weekly Extension Get Fit classes.
This year, EHC surprised me with a drive-by birthday parade led by four White Hall
Police cars. I have been telecommuting since COVID-19 was discovered in Pine Bluff
on March 11, 2020, so the birthday parade was by my home in White Hall.
I heard the police sirens and looked out my upstairs office window to see which neighbor
was in trouble. Then I heard the doorbell ring and thought, “Oh, no, the police are
When I opened the front door of my house, Dot Hart was running from the door and the
four police cars had their lights flashing and sirens blaring. I was in shock as
the EHC’ers drove by leaving cards and gifts in a bucket by the driveway. They had
met at a member’s home and made posters for their vehicles. After social distancing
photos outside, I took balloons, posters, etc., into my kitchen to take photos to
send my children and sister. My sister said, “They love you!”
Jefferson County Extension Homemakers sponsor a few fund raising events each year.
One is the annual Pecan & Peanut Sale. They have a mailing list of over 600 who faithfully
order pecans, raw peanuts, and chocolate covered peanuts. We advertise on Facebook,
radio, and in the newspaper. One gentleman drove from Conway to purchase 60 pounds
of shelled, mammoth pecan halves.
With COVID-19 precautions in place, 2020 was the first time in 36 years that the annual
holiday foods show (limited to 200 tickets) was not held. The Extension Homemakers
still published and sold 300 copies of their annual Holiday Foods Cookbook.
District and State Meetings and Educational/Fellowship Tours are events looked forward
to by EHC members. County Council pays the president’s expenses and for half a room
for Council members, along with their registration and meals.
County Council chooses one project a year to donate $500 - $1,000. For the past few
years, the project has been the Home Economics buildings at the Southeast Arkansas
District Fairgrounds in Pine Bluff. New “chicken house” fans were purchased to cool
County Council donates $500 per year for FCS programs without a sponsor, such as Brain
Health for Area Agency on Aging. The EHC County Council annually donates another
$500 for EHC Leader Training supplies.
With all these activities, it is exciting to serve as a volunteer in Jefferson County
Extension Homemakers and I am blessed to be the Advisor for this group. I love them
and the difference they are making in so many lives.
I hope that this column will give you some ideas for your county EHC members. If
you have any questions, e-mail
email@example.com, follow me on Facebook @UAEXJeffersonCoFCSMaryAnnKizer, Instagram at firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter at MaryKizer or call the Jefferson County Office at (870) 534-1033.