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TWIGs for Breakfast

Main Entry: twig 
Pronunciation: ˈtwig
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English twigge, from Old English; akin to Old High German zwīg twig, Old English twā two
Date: before 12th century
1 : a small shoot or branch usually without its leaves

Main Entry: Rye TWIG 
Pronunciation: rye ˈtwig
Function: charity
Etymology: old Rye 
Date: 1911
1 : a small charity looking to recruit you

The Rye Twig is looking for a few good women.

In 2011, The Twig of Westchester County will celebrate its 100 year anniversary. In preparation it is launching a Centennial Twig this Wednesday, February 11th at 9:30am. If you are interested in finding out more, contact Co-President Maureen Gomez at mogomez@optonline.net or 921-4334. The Twig has a long history of supporting healthcare in the area.

Ashley Craig and Maureen Gomez serve as Co-Presidents of the Twig along with long time members Karen Whamond as Treasurer and Roz Larr as Secretary. All live in Rye. The 200 active members include residents of Harrison, Rye Brook,Rye Neck, Port Chester and Rye. 

What is the Twig?

The Twig, Inc. began in Rye in 1911 when Mrs. H. Van Wyck Wickes brought the idea from her home in Rochester, NY for a woman’s auxiliary to assist its local hospital. According to the Annual Report of the Board of Managers of United Hospital, Port Chester, NY, for the year ending October 1, 1911, the president wrote: “A sewing circle has been formed among the ladies of Rye, with Mrs. Van Wyck Wickes as President and Mrs. Edward A. Choate as Secretary/Treasurer, which will be of great assistance in the Supply Department.”  This concluding note was an understatement, as it heralded the birth of the Twig Organization and its growth into The Twig, Inc. 

From 1911 through 2004, a remarkable period of 93 years, the ladies of the Twig Organization successfully, not just sewed for their hospital, but raised much needed funds for the hospital to assist in its care of the people of Harrison, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, Purchase, Rye and Rye Brook.  

In 1921, the first all-twig event was held – The Annual Holiday Fair.  Not surprisingly, it continues today. In 1949 and again in 1954 all Twigs got together for the “Follies”, a musical revue that included husbands and friends of the Twig, to purchase new ambulances for the hospital. In 1981, a new edition of the “Follies” was held and raised over $36,000 for the hospital. Other ‘all-twig’ events included a Twig Ball (1951), fashion benefits, tennis tournaments, a symphony concert, and a huge Tercentenary Ball to celebrate Rye ’s 300th anniversary in 1960. In 1986, the Twig Organization celebrated its 75th Anniversary with a performance of “Up With People’, a patriotic musical extravaganza at the Capital Theater in Port Chester.  

In 1954, two twigs planned a Pro-Amateur Golf Tournament for the benefit of United Hospital at the Apawamis Club.  Over the next eight years, other Twigs joined in this fun event.  When it moved to the Westchester Country Club in 1963 to become a regular stop on what is now known as the PGA TOUR, it became an ‘all Twig event’. The Twig, Inc. received $170,000 from The PGA Tour for its volunteer efforts at the 2007 Barclays Golf Classic!  

As membership in the Twig Organization grew to include daughters and granddaughters as well as new members of and to the community, the imagination and creativity of its membership held no bounds on ways to raise monies for their hospital. Among things that they sold were aprons, candles, candy, charms, Christmas cards, cook books, dresses, fabric, flower arrangements, furniture, glass, jewelry, knit goods, linens, needlepoint supplies, panty hose, pickles, placemats, pocketbooks, portrait photographs, pumpkins, quilts, stationary, sweaters, Tupperware and Twig Tweeds. They also staffed the Twig Shop at the Rye Town Hilton. Gathering a crowd never seemed a problem as they hosted an Antiques Appraisal Day, Antique Show, the Barefoot Ball, boutiques, a bowling league, bridge series, Casino Night & Buffet, community education seminars, cooking classes, a Day at the Races, dog obedience classes, Dollhouse Tour & Tea, fall fun runs, fashion shows, finance lectures, Flea Markets, garage sales, a Haunted House, household sales services, Ice Cream Social, lecture series, March Madness Sports Night, Mardi Gras night, Mayfair, sewing lessons, shopping trips, sports sales, tag sales, Thanksgiving Dance for teenagers, theater benefits for both children and adults, tours, Valentine Ball and Yoga classes. 

At one time, the Twigs had four shops to service the community: the Nearly New Shop in Rye; the Thrift Shop in Port Chester; the Thrift and Commission Shop in Mamaroneck; and the Twig Antique Shop in Rye which is still operating very successfully. 

Aside from fundraising, many Twig members gave countless hours of volunteer service at United Hospital as well. The Coffee Shop and the Gift Shop were staffed with Twig members. Just about every department within the hospital, from the Admitting Department to Skilled Nursing Pavilion, and everything in between could always count on a Twig member to be there to assist. In 2001, an annual project was created to honor United’s dedicated members during Staff Appreciation Week. 

A New Chapter

When, in 2005, the hospital closed, the members of the Twig Organization, wanting to continue their service to the community, reorganized and filed for 501(c) (3) status as The Twig of Westchester County, New York, Inc. In three short years, much has been accomplished. In conjunction with Habitat for Humanity, the headquarters of the Port Chester-Rye-Rye Brook EMS has received a much needed face-lift, greatly improving the morale of its dedicated staff. CPR classes, an Emergency Preparedness Seminar, fire truck visits from Santa, a gourmet cooking class, a Family Fun Fitness Day, a Holiday Fair and a Fall Tag Sale are but a few of the fun fundraising events that have been held.  For the time period 7/1/05 to 6/30/08 a total of $618,286.00 has been distributed to Twig designated charities. 

New Twigs are created and bring their own special dynamism and creativity to our organization, with exciting new ideas and innovative projects. Through the Centennial Twig, new members will have the opportunity to continue to support the EMS and other important healthcare initiatives, while working to celebrate the rich history of the Twig organization. Other Twigs, having served with distinction and dedication, often decide to move to Honorary status, but many members still participate in fundraising events. 


  1. The Twig’s did a ton of good over the years for so many organizations that it’s high time they get recognition here on MyRye.

    Maybe Ms. Gomez could look into rescuing the recognition plaques, signs and other testimonials locked up in the entry hall display cases at United Hospital?

    The names on those tablets read like a history book of Rye’s dedication to the betterment of the community and its citizens.

    I last visited them just before the building closure and was saddened to see all the names I knew from childhood behind unclean glass awaiting an uncertain future.


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