Crafty Villagers use skills to help others

Angel Snugs leader Johanna Cole and co-leader Lisa Moring finish off hats for pediatric cancer patients.

Villagers are known for their generosity and eagerness to aid others, and the trend has moved south. Residents of the Villages south of County Road 466A are getting involved in groups that create quilts, hats and a multitude of crafts they donate for people and pets in need.  Among other projects, the Fenney Arts & Crafts group makes girls dresses that missionaries take to Central America and Africa. Project leader Beverly Spangler, of the Village of DeSoto, said she recently got an email from a missionary who took 50 dresses residents had made to a part of Africa where young girls are trafficked. If a girl is wearing a nice dress, traffickers assume she is being watched and protected, so traffickers leave her alone, Spangler said. Her group gave 87 dresses made in three weeks to one missionary. Spangler said she also teaches residents to sew. “It’s contagious,” she said about making the dresses. They also make dog blankets from material not suitable for children’s dresses or blankets. She accepts donations of fabric. The group meets at 8:30 a.m. Saturdays at Fenney Recreation Center.

Angel Snugs

A third iteration of this group in The Villages that knits, crochets or looms hats for pediatric cancer patients began meeting in May at Fenney Recreation Center. It had made 97 hats by July 1, said group leader Johanna Cole, of the Village of Fenney. One member also made 33 headbands, and they are making scarves at home or meetings at 10:30 a.m. the first and third Monday of each month at Fenney. Jen Smith, of the Village Santo Domingo, said Angel Snugs has made 66,000 hats since she started the first group in The Villages in 2013. Angel Snugs also meets at 9 a.m. the second and fourth Friday of each month at Big Cypress Recreation Center. To help with donations of yarn, or money to send the hats and scarves to 87 hospitals in 33 states, go to one of the meetings or call Cole at 352-492-9380, or Smith at 352-250-3431.

Quilting Guild Of The Villages

The guild ­makes quilts for three charities: Villages Honor Flight Inc., Cornerstone Hospice and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Each chapter may contribute to those or may support another charity of its choice instead of, or in addition to, guild President Theresa Ierardi said. “Charity projects are not required,” she said. Most chapters find a cause they support. For example, she is part of Mamie’s Quilters at Eisenhower Recreation Center. It makes quilts for battered women and their children at Haven House. Happy Hour Quilters at Rohan Recreation Center donates quilts to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches, chapter President Rosemary Knapp said. Rohan Quilters made pillowcases and laundry bags for Kids Central, among other projects. The Fenney Sewcialites makes dresses to send to Guatemala. A new chapter is forming at Riverbend Recreation Center.

Machine Embroidery Quilting

The club that meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesdays at Big Cypress Recreation Center made 50 book pockets to hang from the back of kindergartners chairs at Wildwood Elementary School. The club with 45 members also made 130 reading pillows for Fruitland Park Elementary School in spring and 145 reading pillows for Wildwood Elementary last Christmas. The 16-inch pillows include a pocket with a children’s book. “Teachers know us well,” said club organizer Joanne De Candia, of the Village of Hadley. The club will decide on upcoming charity projects in the fall, she said. There is a waiting list for the club because she said outlets are limited for sewing machines. To donate materials, email her at

Staff writer Dayna Straehley can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5408, or