Freeport neighbors helping neighbors, 1 stitch at a time

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FREEPORT — With the holidays approaching, residents have been gearing up to provide their neighbors with food, gifts and clothing through the Holiday Helpline at Freeport Community Services.

Bob Lyman, executive director of FCS, said the organization will help 120 families during the holidays this year. The Holiday Helpline started when the organization was created, nearly 37 years ago, Lyman said.

“It started on someone’s back porch, giving out boots and coats to people who needed them,” he said. “It has grown each year.”

One of the newest additions is the Chain Stitch event, a gathering of people who knit, sew, felt or crochet clothing for those in need.

Shelley Snodgrass, board member of Freeport Creative Arts, started the event about four years ago.

“This is something I have always wanted to do,” Snodgrass said. “I think it is a fabulous idea to get to meet people you normally wouldn’t and do something for others.”

She said a chain stitch is a crochet term, and is the first loop made before starting on the item. She said the event, like the chain stitch, is the basis for all that follows.

“It’s the foundation of the project, the idea of the loop joins us together,” she said.

The actual gathering took place on Oct. 15, where Snodgrass said about a dozen people came together to create clothing for adults and children. There are donation boxes at the Freeport Library and the Community Center so people who were unable to attend can donate homemade or hand stitched items.

“I want to let people create what they are good at (making),” she said, be it hats, mittens, or scarves. “It can be anything that keeps people warm.”

Snodgrass said the event has grown from 30 pieces the first year to close to 60 this year, but said she would love to see more participation in the future.

Residents can drop off donations Dec. 12-14 at FCS, 53 Depot St., and families will pick up items on Dec. 15. To learn more about next year’s Chain Stitch event, visit Freeportcreative arts.org or email freeportcreativearts@gmail.com.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson

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