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Family & Consumer Sciences celebrates 100 years of service to N.C. families

A special event May 25 at N.C. State University will mark the 100th anniversary of North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service’s Family & Consumer Sciences program. Beginning with home demonstration canning clubs, the family and consumer sciences program of N.C. Cooperative Extension has always addressed needs of North Carolina families since 1911.

News organizations are invited to cover these centennial events at the Jane S. McKimmon Center, N.C. State University.

5-6 p.m.: The celebration will begin with the unveiling of a book on North Carolina FCS’s 100-year history, Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Service. The book features pages on extension home demonstration clubs in every county that describe the many ways they helped move their communities forward. This event would provide an opportunity to interview FCS retirees about how the organization has changed over the years.

6:30 p.m.: The celebratory dinner will begin with a dramatic reading by women in period costume representing four decades in the 100-year history of family and consumer sciences: The 1920s, 1940s, 1960s and 1980s.

In addition, FCS will induct 25 inaugural members into the Jane S. McKimmon Hall of Fame. The inductees all hold the distinction of having made significant contributions to FCS at N.C. State.

1911 marked the beginning of the home demonstration program in North Carolina that later became “home economics” and is known today as family and consumer sciences. Today, FCS professionals serve citizens in all the state’s 100 counties and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.

Beginning with home demonstration canning clubs, family and consumer sciences has always addressed needs for families in North Carolina. As families grow 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.

“What families need now is the same as what they needed in the past – credible information and practical skills to improve their economic opportunity, educational excellence, health and well-being, thus improving their lives and the communities in which they live. Families have the will. FCS has the way,” said Dr. Marshall Stewart, program leader for FCS at N.C. State University.

Each county extension center in North Carolina offers a variety of FCS programs, customized to meet the needs of individual counties. To learn more about what’s available for families in a particular county, contact the family and consumer sciences extension agent through local N.C. Cooperative Extension centers. Find local extension centers by visiting the website:

“Family & Consumer Sciences: You have the Will. We have the Way.”

-Written by Natalie Hampton, or 919.513.3128—