The is cemented in Riverview's history after more than 50 years of existence, the founding members long gone and current members perhaps dwindling.
Primarily, the Hobby Club is social group dedicated to living as good Samaritans. They knit or crochet everything from hats and blankets for cancer patients and raise money or canned goods for charities that help the homeless. The club meets every Thursday at the , 11020 Park Rd., to create new items, socialize and, at the end of the month, enjoy each other's cooking with a potluck.
"We make chemo hats for babies all the way up through the age groups as well as blankets to help people at different hospitals," Hobby Club President Yvonne Cagle said. "We do things for nursing homes and the homeless. Most of the women crochet or knit and we try to use that to help people somehow."
Inge Drury moved to Tampa in the 1950s and has been involved with the club since its early days when she got a job at the Civic Center. She has seen the membership grow and dwindle down again to the 22 they have now.
"I worked here way back when and over the years the Hobby Club grew," Drury said. "I think it's been so successful because this facility is a nice place to come and relax along the river, and all the women are very nice and accepting. We welcome all kinds of people, but it's tougher to keep the numbers up now because there are so many things out there for people to get into."
The ladies, primarily over 65, take field trips, visit hospitals and eagerly greet a new face. When Lee Accardi moved from New York in 2002, she needed some sort of activity as she wondered what to do in her new Florida home. She found valuable friendships at the Hobby Club and has been a member ever since.
"I moved here and I found myself wondering, 'What is there to do around here?' " Accardi said. "I went to the Chamber of Commerce, and they recommended I come see these ladies, and ever since then I've been coming. The camaraderie is very special because you need that. It's such a special group of women."
For some of the members, the weekly visit to the club is one of only a few places they go. As president, Cagle enjoys organizing the group because of the friendly nature of the organization.
"We've got members that are in their 90s, and this is the only place beside the hospital or doctor's office that they go," Cagle said. "It's a social time for everybody where we can come together and do some creative things and share ideas. This group to me is great because there is no animosity or politics ever."
The group at the Civic Center. For more information, call Lee Accardi at 813-677-4998 or 813-671-7600.