The Hugs Project
The Hugs Project was started in June 2004 Ray and Karen Stark when they decided every American service member deserved to know they were loved and appreciated by their fellow Americans at home. These sentiments are shared with service men and women through thoughtful care packages full of items soldiers need to get by, but also items to remind them of home and to help ease their time in the Middle East. It started when its founding members recognized a need to keep troops cool in the blazing heat of summer and warm in the frosty winters. They began to send cool ties, which go around the neck and help cool down service members. The organization has expanded beyond just cool ties and now sends whatever supplies troops need or tokens to help remind them of the American citizen’s appreciation for their service. Whenever the Hugs Project receives word of troops in need their team of volunteers leaps into action and piles packages full of all the necessities. Troops all over the Middle East have received thoughtful care packages from the Hugs Project, and each day more are reaching out to the organization asking for basic supplies. Besides the cool ties, The Hugs Project sends items such as socks, canned food, band aids, hygiene products, handmade Christmas ornaments and stockings, Oreos, CDs, and whatever else might be desired.
To date, the Hugs Project has sent over 1.9 million cool ties, 300,000 helmet coolers, and more than 900 tons of care package items. The organization has members in all fifty states and even in fifty-eight foreign countries. The out pouring of appreciation from U.S. Military troops fuels more and more volunteers to join this wonderful cause. The Hugs project urges everyone to take a moment to appreciate the freedoms provided for them by our troops. Please support this wonderful cause by donating your time, care package items, or money to The Hugs Project. The dedication of our troops must be matched with the utmost gratitude of American citizens. Points of Light encourages people to thank these troops while in service, but also when they return home. By providing reintegration community solutions , veterans and their families can feel united and supported.