By MIKE ROBERTSON

Kemper County Messenger



On Thursday, April 27, all Kemper County volunteers and service workers will be treated to a luncheon hosted by the Kemper County Homemaker Volunteers and County Extension Staff. The luncheon will begin at 11:00 a.m. and go until around 12:30 p.m. It will be held at the Kemper County Farmer's Market.

This event was first held in 2016, and according to Ruby Rankin, County Extension Advisor, it will be annual or bi-annual, depending on turnout.

The luncheon is for all volunteers and service workers including fire departments, law enforcement, emergency management, EMEPA employees, and other volunteers. Rankin said that around 100 people were served last year.

“We are hoping to have as many as we did last year, or more," she said. "Last year, we said volunteers and this year we included the service workers because you have these people that are out doing things for our good when we are in the bed asleep. We know that sometimes people don’t know that a ‘Thank you,’ goes a long way.”

The purpose of the luncheon is to show these workers how much their efforts are appreciated. Last year the Homemakers served hamburgers, but Rankin said this year they plan to serve either fish or barbecue.

In 2016, each fire department received an Appreciation Award and DeKalb Police Chief Steven Jackson was also recognized.

The idea of the luncheon was first presented at a planning meeting in 2016. The luncheon was partially funded by a grant from the county. Some of the funding comes from fundraising efforts of the Homemakers. The organization did not apply for the county grant in 2017.

Rankin said, “The homemaker members are so generous. They prepared the desserts themselves. And we purchased the meat and everything that goes with it.”

The Homemakers are a very active group. Rankin pointed out that three times a year, they bake cookies and take them to the Welcome Center in Toomsuba and welcome people to Mississippi. “People are just amazed at the hospitality. We have a great group of people who like to give back to the community,” said Rankin.

The group does one fundraiser a year, in August, which is in conjunction with the Homemakers Arts and Crafts Fair.

The group is very active with other projects, as well. Each quarter they make items for Blair Batson Children's Hospital in Jackson, which include dolls, pillows, slippers, caps and others items. They also make dresses to send to kids in Guatemala and other third-world countries. They make pillow cases, out of a special fabric, that are sent to cancer centers in several different states.

Each month they celebrate birthdays at the local nursing home, the Mississippi Care Center of Dekalb. At Christmastime they purchase things that the residents of the Care Center might need, so that everyone has a Christmas present, or things that the staff can give them as they need.

At Christmas, they also gather things for the VA home in Kosciusko.