Central Carroll: Hugs and Stitches helping those in need to keep warm

Central Carroll: Hugs and Stitches helping those in need to keep warm
Leona Shockey and Donna Meinecke participate in Hugs and Stitches, a needlework group that has been meeting weekly since 2004 at Brightview Westminster Ridge. (Courtesy photo)

Every Tuesday evening at 5 p.m., in a small room at Brightview Westminster Ridge, needles click and clack, turning yards and yards of yarn into donations for those in need. It is the weekly meeting of Hugs and Stitches, a needlework group that was born on February 5, 2004.

“We are going to celebrate 14 years of service in just a couple weeks,” said the group’s founder, Sandi Schneider, who says her group creates works of love.


While driving to her Westminster job over 11 years ago, Schneider cringed when passing homeless people out in the cold. She longed to give them warm hats and scarves. At the time, she was donating her handmade scarves to Shepherd’s Staff, but that didn’t seem like enough.

Then, while teaching a crochet class for Carroll County Parks and Recreation, she mentioned her desire to help more needy folks. The class was so excited to help that Schneider founded Hugs and Stitches.

“We have completed 2,272 pieces this year,” Schneider shared. Those donated items included scarves, hats, mittens and afghans.

“We turned in 850 scarf and hat sets to Shepherd's Staff for their Call for Coats program and 80 afghans for Mosaic/Granite House clients for Christmas, as well as 20 afghans to Dove House.”

Currently, about 20 women meet weekly, but Schneider said anyone is welcome to join.

Some come with little experience, while others are expert knitters and crocheters. According to Schneider, the more experienced in her group are always willing to help those who need a little extra instruction.

Schneider buys yarn every time it’s on sale, but yarn donations also come into the group. She’s adamant about making sure everyone has yarn, so she brings it to the meetings for anyone who needs it, but many members provide their own. Schneider spoke of how quickly the ladies work to fill ever evolving wish-lists.

“Brightview asked us if we would help with a project of making fingerless gloves for a very poor nursing home they were aware of, and in just a few weeks we gave them 100 pairs.”

As their 14th anniversary celebration approaches, Schneider hopes others will join them.

For more information on Hugs and Stitches, contact Sandi Schneider at 410-848-8860 or

A pile of afghans sits at Brightview Westminster Ridge, the product of the Hugs and Stitches club.
A pile of afghans sits at Brightview Westminster Ridge, the product of the Hugs and Stitches club. (Courtesy photo)
Stop Swap and Save

With more than 200 vendors, thousands of discounted cycling and fitness products, product demos, prize giveaways, special events and more, Stop Swap and Save will be held at the Carroll County Agriculture Center — 706 Agricultural Center Drive, Westminster — on Sunday, February 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you’re looking for a new bike — road, mountain, triathlon, BMX, vintage, new or used — this is the place to find it all. In their 22nd year, the Stop Swap and Save show drew over 4,000 visitors last year from six states and Washington DC.

Robin Culver of New Windsor promotes the event. She said the SWAP was started 22 years ago by her husband and a college friend.

In addition to bikes, they’ll have sports clothing, bike parts, and cycling accessories. Vintage, new and used items will be available at discounted prices. Look for individual vendors, bike shops, manufacturers, and lots of cyclists at this event. Shop, trade with others, or just hang out with industry reps.


Culver said some of the vendors sometimes provide demos or hands on displays.

“And, we have a raffle that runs every hour,” she said. “We raffle off SWAP shirts, gift certificates from Road ID, and many items that our vendors donate. And the raffle is free to all who attend.”

Food will be available, including egg sandwiches at breakfast time and grilled cheese, burgers, chicken tenders and other goodies plus beverages.

“The SWAP is the biggest and best event of its kind on the East Coast,” Culver said. “It has something for every biker rider!”

Admission is $5 at the door for this event. Learn more on their website at or call 410-848-6704.

Walking community welcomes all to mall

No matter what the weather is like outside, it is always dry in the mall! First Fitness Fridays are held on the first Friday of each month at TownMall of Westminster, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and all are welcome to walk. The next date is Friday, Feb. 1. This Walk Carroll program is sponsored by the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County and TownMall of Westminster.

Skyla Ertter, a community health improvement areas and events specialist with the Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County, spoke about the program.

“People come to do laps around the mall They can walk in groups or alone. Sometimes we have blood pressure readings or information about diabetes or other health related information available, too”

Ertter said each lap around the mall is a certain length or distance. Walk Carroll will soon be setting up an online site where walkers can enter how far they have walked and keep their mileage stats.

To join this walking community, walkers need only check in at the Walk Carroll table, located in the Food Court.

“It’s a great way to connect with the community, gather info about health related topics and get up and moving at any time of year and in any kind of weather. If it rains or is cold or we have any kind of bad weather, you can still walk in the mall!”

The mall is located at 400 N. Center Street, Westminster. For more information, call Walk Carroll at 410-871-7645.