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How do you measure feeling seen, heard, and knowing that you matter in this world?
How do you measure discovering a new way of being led by LOVE, kindness, compassion, and peace?
While I don’t know how to quantify the power of a kind word, helping people feel seen and heard, or offering a hug to heighten celebrations or lessen sorrows and struggles, I do know the impact is powerful. Read below some of the positive ripple effects we are doing.
Since 2008, we have been offering hugs given over 50,000 hugs
on 6 continents, 45 countries, 36 US states,
and Desmond Tutu joined us twice.
Missing his hugs
One day, an elderly woman made her way to the hug line. Hunched over with age, she had tears in her eyes and told me her husband passed away two weeks prior and how she missed his hugs. I held her and we cried together. – Carol
A man who had been sober for over a decade was going through a rough patch. He planned that day to go to the bar, and yet he came across our hug line and got hugs from each of us. He ended up going home and his friend emailed me the experience a few days later. – Carol
Right Place, Right Time
I had been hugging at a local farmers market every Saturday. On this particular Saturday, an elderly woman walked up to me and said, “I’m glad you were here today, hoping you would be. I could use a hug.” I said, well, that’s what I’m doing here,” and we hugged. I asked her what was going on for her, and she said,” Well, I check in to hospice tomorrow. I thought this would be a good place to come. I was hoping you’d be here. The hug was great. Thanks.” She started to walk away. I began to cry. I was glad I had been there too. I’ve never forgotten that moment. – Paul (Portland, Oregon)
It Started with a Hug
We were hugging at Key West’s Southernmost Point, a landmark visitors come to get their picture taken. It’s the PERFECT spot for some friendly folks with “FREE HUGS” signs to stand as people are already lining up with their cameras out. There was a woman in a traditional Muslim hijab and robe who hugged me and kept hugging me. She smiled and smiled and hugged me so tightly. Her name was Mena, and she was from Morocco but lived in Paris. It was hard to get too far with our conversation, with her zero English and my limited French, but she wrote down her address and invited me to her house in Paris for Couscous. As Paris is my favorite city, I looked her up on my next visit. With my friend, Lisa, as my translator, we met up with Mena and her son Samir at a restaurant in Paris after sundown since it was Ramadan. They were the most hospitable and friendly folks you could ever meet. Sammy and his girlfriend visited me in Key West, and I have since seen them again in Paris. New friendships, and it all started with a hug. – Loretta (Key West, New Orleans)