Kick It Up for KEHA Week is Oct. 11-17 when the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association (KEHA) is celebrating across the state.

Established in 1932, the state organization’s 13,455 members are dedicated to learning, leading, serving. Programs educate members and the public about topics including heritage skills, attracting and protecting pollinators, nurturing families, food safety, nutrition, reducing waste, leadership, avoiding scams, civic engagement, and more.

Volunteer service is a strong emphasis in KEHA. Members annually report more than 328,000 volunteer hours in support of Extension and community projects with a value of more than $7.3 million to the Commonwealth. Since 1977, KEHA has actively supported the University of Kentucky Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. Donations in the 43-year history of this project total to more than $1.5 million.

When the coronavirus pandemic began to affect Kentucky communities in the spring, KEHA members answered the call to meet local needs. Members across the state have made home sewn face coverings for healthcare facilities, community organizations, schools, and more. In August, KEHA joined the statewide Coverings for Kids initiative to provide face coverings for school children and personnel. Thousands of face masks have been made, and this work continues.

Graves County Extension Homemakers made close to 500 items of PPE (masks, hats, gowns) for the community. Members also contributed to the Coverings for Kids face mask initiative. The group volunteered 16,908 documented hours this past year. According to a recent newspaper article, the value of a volunteer hour is worth $27.20. That means Graves County Extension Homemakers contributed $459,897.60 in volunteer hours value to our community!

The group hosted a reception for the 2020 Census Quilt at the Graves County Library and handed out materials about Extension Homemaking. Members participated in the Purchase Area Extension Homemakers Creative Arts Showcase and four members received purple ribbons and the opportunity to submit their projects to the state contest. Graves County received an award from KEHA for having the largest percentage of membership growth for this past year! That was quite an important recognition for the group.

Our yearly activities were cut short in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but programs did continue through ZOOM meetings and other technology.

KEHA is a volunteer organization that works to improve the quality of life for families and communities through leadership development, volunteer service and education. The organization operates in partnership with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. County Extension Agents for Family and Consumer Sciences work closely with KEHA members and clubs to provide educational programming and coordinate community activities.

To learn more about the Graves County Extension Homemakers, contact the Extension Office at 270-247-2334.