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Gaston Co. Extension & Community Association (ECA)

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ECA members visit Dinah Gore kitchen 2019ECA members visited the Dinah E. Gore Teaching and Research Kitchens at NC State as part of a local foods educational program.

ECA is a state volunteer organization supported by NC State Extension. 

Visit our ECA Video Update to learn about upcoming events.

MISSION – To strengthen families through:

  • Leadership development, volunteer opportunities, and education support
  • Information from NC State and North Carolina A&T University


  • Supporting NC State Extension programs and community projects
  • Providing educational scholarships
  • Teaching craft classes (such as crochet, knitting, paper crafting, quilting, and sewing)


Everyone is invited to attend our monthly meetings, as well as be a part of our special interest groups. Please contact for schedule details during COVID-19:

  • Gaston Co. ECA Monthly Meeting – 1st Thurs. @ 10 a.m. during Jan., Feb., Mar., Oct, & Nov.; 1st Thurs. @ 6:30 p.m. during Apr., May, June, Aug., & Sept. (Note: no meetings held during July and December)
  • Creative Needlers ECA – 3rd Thurs. @ @ 6:30 p.m.  (contact:  Rita Kincaid)
  • Lucile Tatum ECA – four meetings to be announced (contact:  Martha Spurrier)
  • Martha Goebel ECA – 1st Tues.@ 10:00 a.m. (contact:  Mary Upton)
  • Quiltmakers ECA – 3rd Thurs. @ 6:30 p.m. (contact:  Patti Wells)

Gaston Co. ECA Executive Board 2022:

  • President – Audrey Hunt
  • President-Elect – vacant
  • Secretary – Billie Taylor
  • Treasurer – Dana Croston   
  • Advisor – Patti Wells

Standing Committees – members include:

  • Building Committee – Jean Caldwell, Peggy Dameron, Jane Falls, Sandy Hamrick, Pat Mantooth, and Martha Spurrier
  • Marketing Committee – Dana Croston, Sandy Hamrick, and Patti Wells
  • Program Committee – Marsha McLamb and Patti Wells
  • Scholarship Committee – Martha Spurrier, Billie Taylor, and Patti Wells





Congratulations on the following $1,000 scholarship winners: 

  • Carter Brown – $1,000 ( Gastonia – ECU, Security Studies)
Carter Brown, 2021 ECA Scholarship Winner ($1,000)

Carter Brown, 2021 ECA Scholarship Winner ($1,000)

  • Karly Brookover – $1,000 (Belmont – UNC-Wilmington, Nursing)
  • Jashala Hoke – $1,000 (Gastonia – A& T, Agribusiness & Food Industry Management)

    Jashala Hoke - 2021 ECA Scholarship Winner ($1,000)

    Jashala Hoke – 2021 ECA Scholarship Winner ($1,000)


Submission deadline:  February 1, 2022

The District ECA scholarship application is now available (click here) and at the Lucile Tatum Center. Students eligible to apply include: current high school seniors, adults, and currently enrolled college students.


ECA members attend Achievement Day Awards celebration

ECA Achievement Day Program – May 2021

The following volunteers were recognized for their outstanding 2020 ECA contributions and service hours during the 2021 Achievement Day Program, “Derby Days”:

  • Patti Wells, Gastonia, NC – received the 2020 Outstanding Leadership Award. Ms. Wells’ leadership during the challenges of COVID was greatly recognized and essential to the organization’s continued service.
2020 ECA Leader of the Year - Patti Wells

2020 ECA Leader of the Year – Patti Wells

  • Karen Rhyne, Gastonia, NC – received the 2020 Outstanding Member of the Year Award. Ms. Rhyne was acknowledged for her commitment and service to ECA, especially for creating an atmosphere of fun and laughter.
2020 ECA Member of the Year - Karen Rhyne

2020 ECA Member of the Year – Karen Rhyne

Members were also recognized for the many volunteer hours contributed during the challenges of 2020:

  • Linda Jozwiakowski, Gastonia, NC – 1,000 hours
  • Bertie Smith, Gastonia, NC – 1,000 hours
  • Betty Willis, Belmont, NC – 1,000 hours
  • Audrey Hunt, Gastonia, NC – 500 hours
  • Rita Kincaid, Gastonia, NC – 500 hours
  • Pamela Myers, Gastonia, NC – 500 hours
  • Angela Nona, Gastonia, NC – 500 hours
  • Martha Spurrier, Gastonia, NC – 500 hours
  • Mary Upton, Gastonia, NC – 500 hours
  • Patti Wells, Gastonia, NC – 500 hours
  • Elsie Williamson, Lowell, NC – 500 hours

Two volunteers were recognized for their length of volunteer service:

  • Nina Tarte, Gastonia, NC – 55 years
  • Betty Willis, Belmont, NC – 25 years

As part of the NC Extension and Community Association, Gaston County ECA proudly recognizes 108 years of service. The volunteer organization resulted from North Carolina being one of six southern states to pioneer home demonstration work. In 1911, NC State University hired Jane McKimmon to organize girls’ tomato clubs across the rural parts of the state, teaching girls how to plant, grow and can tomatoes. Mothers were very excited about activities of the tomato clubs (1912-1920) and wanted to have programs of their own. As a result, during 1913 Jane McKimmon and the Cooperative Extension agents in the 14 counties started home demonstration clubs for farm women. Agents were trained to go into rural areas and demonstrate homemaking techniques, mainly food preservation and clothing construction, to isolated farm women.

The NC Organization of Home Demonstration Clubs (1920-1966) was officially organized to extend Home Economics Extension programming into communities across the state. Later, Negro Home Demonstration Clubs of North Carolina (1940-1946) were formed. These two groups merged in 1967 to form the NC Extension Homemakers Association, Inc. (1967-2000) and continued to extend delivery of programs across the state. In 2000, this vital organization became the NC Extension and Community Association (ECA) and continues to be an important partner with N.C. Cooperative Extension.

Although its name and activities may have changed throughout the years, ECA’s mission has stayed the same – to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families through lifelong learning, leadership development, and community service.

Anyone interested in being a part of a community service organization is invited to participate in ECA. Supported by N.C. Cooperative Extension, ECA is located at the Lucile Tatum Center, 959 Osceola Street, Gastonia. Contact Pam Bryson for more information and details on how to become involved: or 704.865.3291.

Contact Information

Pam Bryson, 704.865.3291

Lucile Tatum Center, 959 Osceola St., Gastonia, NC

Hours:  8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  (closed 12 – 1 p.m.) | Monday – Friday

Follow us on Facebook:  @gastoneca