Carter County Members gearing up to celebrate OHCE Week

The Daily Ardmoreite
Danielle Wells Carter County FCS Educator
Oklahoma Home and Community Education

Whether they are raising scholarship money, beautifying their communities, or sewing cloth face masks for healthcare workers across the state, members of Oklahoma State University Extension’s group, Oklahoma Home and Community Education, continue to make a difference every day.

Committed to making a difference, this group, established in 1935, will celebrate their service to Oklahoma May 2-8 during Oklahoma Home and Community Education Week. This year’s theme is Celebrating Your Helping Hands. This group certainly knows how to put their hands to good work.

With nearly 3,500 members statewide, club members work together to strengthen individuals, families and communities through education, leadership, and action. Through the group’s relationship with Oklahoma State University Extension, OHCE presents research-based information to its members.

The impact of OHCE is strong and felt far and wide. For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic began last year, there was a desperate shortage of face masks for workers in the medical field and other areas. OHCE members stepped up to the plate and put their sewing skills to good use. They made nearly 75,000 masks that were donated to hospitals, clinics, and other places. Carter County OHCE made over 5,000 masks.

Suzette Barta, community engagement coordinator for OSU’s College of Education and Human Sciences - Extension, Engagement and Continuing Education, said operating a sewing machine wasn’t the only way club members were making their mark on their communities.

The pandemic certainly didn’t slow them down. OHCE members also made great strides in technology usage. Barta said “Clubs held three district meetings by Zoom and afternoon workshops were prerecorded and posted on YouTube. Groups even held silent auction fundraisers that were posted on hosting counties’ Facebook pages.”

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, OHCE members continue to make a difference around the county.

OHCE groups also undertake many additional projects besides sewing face masks. For example, Carter County groups raise money for 4-H scholarships, sew blankets for SARA’s House, provide meals and gifts for families at holidays, participate in recycling and resource management projects and donate supplies to many local shelters and the veteran’s center.

The organization helps county events such as the Carter County Fair, Junior Livestock Show kitchen, Carter County Arts & Crafts Festival & Food Fair, groceries for local families and Eddie Eagle’s Gun Safe program at the county fair for schools.

Past service projects have included sewing comfort pillows for post-surgery mastectomy patients, donating teddy bears to law enforcement to give to children when they are involved in a domestic call, and blankets to law enforcement to give to individuals in accidents or wherever they see needed.

This is just a small sample of what our members do for their communities every day.

Next week to celebrate OHCE groups will be hosting different activities. Monday they will meet with the County Commissioners to proclaim May 2, 2021 through May 8, 2021 as “Oklahoma Home and Community Education Week. Triangle group will have 5 billboards across Ardmore promoting OHCE during that week. The Dickson group will be hosting a Food Drive for the Family Shelter of Southern Oklahoma at the Shops of Ardmore in the north entrance by Hobby Lobby. It will be held on Wednesday, May 5th from 10am to 6pm. Needed items are canned meats, bread, condiments, canned fruits and vegetables. If you cannot make it out to see them. You are more than welcome to drop items off at the Carter County OSU Extension Office located at 25 A Street NW, Suite 200. We are just above the County Election Board.

For more information about OHCE, contact the Carter County OSU Extension Office at (580) 223-6570 or email danielle.l.wells@okstate.edu.

Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.