As the lights rose on the 100th anniversary of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service’s Family & Consumer Sciences program, four women dressed in period costume from the 20th century described how their home demonstration program had helped them meet their families’ needs.
Through pandemics, the Great Depression and two world wars, these women explained, the instruction they had received in their clubs had led to better times for their families and their communities. Beginning with home demonstration canning clubs, the FCS program has addressed needs of North Carolina families since 1911.
The centennial celebration events, which took place May 25 at the Jane S. McKimmon Center on the N.C. State campus, opened with the unveiling of Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Service, a book on North Carolina FCS’s history.
A celebratory dinner began with a dramatic reading by women representing four decades in the 100-year history of family and consumer sciences: the 1920s, 1940s, 1960s and 1980s. Afterward, FCS inducted 25 inaugural members into the Jane S. McKimmon Hall of Fame for significant contributions to FCS at N.C. State.
“Since 1911, before the country’s extension system was even started, FCS has been committed to positive change for the families of North Carolina,” said N.C. State Chancellor Randy Woodson. “Through FCS, N.C. State University is able to influence the lives of North Carolinians who will never set foot on this campus.”
Today, FCS professionals serve citizens in all the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.
As families have grown more complex, so has Extension’s approach to family and consumer issues. Today, FCS programs help families better understand budgeting, credit use, economic loss protection, health care costs, financial planning and economic choices. Food quality and safety programs give food-service personnel, dietary managers, community volunteers and care givers the knowledge and resources they need for safe food preparation.
FCS Extension agents also work to improve people’s awareness of health, safety and environmental issues; to reduce household wastes, to expand support for groundbreaking rural health initiatives, to address elder care and aging issues and to help families learn about the importance of nutrition and physical activity for better health.
The FCS history book may be ordered for $47 (includes shipping) from the N.C. FCS Foundation, Box 7645, N.C. State University, Raleigh, N.C., 27695-7645. Call Susan Brame at 919-513-7989 for information.
— Natalie Hampton