Homemakers group branch out into Chelsea community

“The Homemakers Club was once called the Tomato Club,” explained Pat Wyatt, president of the Chelsea/Westover Homemakers Club.

According to the Internet, these organizations, first known as Girls’ Club Movement, began around the turn of the 20th century as a means of educating girls in the art of raising and canning tomatoes.

Eventually, the clubs became known as Home Demonstration Clubs, where women came together to learn or to improve various homemaking skills, such as sewing, decorating and food preparation and preservation.

Wyatt said she is thankful women today have the convenience of store-bought clothes and food.

Homemakers clubs now put more emphasis on other things to improve family and home life.

Program topics for the Chelsea/Westover club have included investments, insurance and surviving cancer. Speakers have included Sheriff Chris Curry, James Spann of ABC 33/40, Fred Hunter of Fox 6 and author Sarah Dubose.

The club encourages reading, community involvement and volunteering.

Members prepare food for families experiencing serious illness or death.

They send care packages to deployed military personnel, attend military funerals and write letters to government officials about things that concern families and communities.

In September, the club will be getting ready for the Shelby County fair, Wyatt said.

She said a council meeting of the Shelby County clubs will be held Oct. 12 at New Life Assembly of God Church.

The Alabama state meeting, with the topic “The Tomato Club,” will be in late October.

Local meetings of the Chelsea/Westover Homemakers Club are held on the second Tuesday of each month except summer months, Wyatt said. They are held in the homes of members, giving homemakers opportunity to show hospitality and visit each others’ homes.

“This also makes us clean our homes at least once a year,” she laughed