Love Hands-Free, Give Hands-Free

To show their gratitude, Hobo donates hundreds of quality leather handbags to UMMS caregivers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic

Chiquota ThomasPhilanthropy is at the heart of Hobo’s philosophy. The Maryland-based company puts as much care and thought into designing their leather handbags and goods as they do with supporting efforts around the community. While their products are found in several small and large businesses throughout the country, their only storefront is in downtown Annapolis.

“We are very much a company with local roots,” said Melissa Mayer, brand marketing manager for Hobo (

As COVID-19 shut down communities across the nation, the team at Hobo wanted to make a difference locally. They were inspired by the steadfast commitment of health care workers, who take an extraordinary risk to their own health and safety to ensure the wellbeing of others.

In May, Hobo ran a two-week promotion, “Love Hands-Free, Give Hands-Free.” For every hands-free bag purchased, they would donate one to a caregiver within the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). They chose UMMS because of its local roots and extensive reach across the state. By the end of the promotion, 773 bags were divided among the medical system’s 13 hospitals.

“We recognize the incredible sacrifice of the health care workers and want to say, ‘thank you’ for everything they have been doing for the past few months,” Melissa said. “It is a bag they can count on and is designed to be used hands-free, so they can continue to care for others so well.”

The UMMS hospitals decided independently on how to best give away the bags to their staff. At the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), each department nominated a “COVID19 Hero,” someone who stepped up to the plate and made a difference during this challenging time.

Chiquota Thomas, BSN, RN, CCRN, is a longtime employee of UMMC and works in the Cardiac Diagnostic Nursing Department. She received a Hobo bag after her colleagues submitted a nomination on her behalf. They wrote: “From the first stirrings of COVID-19, Chiquota has been integral in planning and preparing her team for the new normal we are all in. She has taken the initiative to propose changes and processes to ensure the safety of patients and staff; and collaborating with management, anesthesia, and cardiology to make sure safety and patient care needs are adequately addressed. She is always pleasant, with a positive outlook.”

Chiquota replied, “I’m honored to be a recipient of the Hobo bag, especially when there are so many COVID-19 heroes. I have an amazing team that makes my job easy.”


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