With Veterans Day approaching on monday, I thought it was a good time to look at the amazing work people do in this country to support our military. In my quest, I came across over 8,000 non-profits that support our troops but this one stood out because of one remarkable lady and a hug.
Her name is Karen Stark and she is the founder of The Hugs Project. In 2004, Karen and her husband Ray, wanted to make sure that every American service member knew they were loved and appreciated for all they do. The couple first wrote to one soldier who was suffering from depression, he then asked them if they could write to another young soldier. Before they knew it they were sending care packages and writing to many troops overseas. Then the Starks had heard that many soldiers were suffering from severe heat exhaustion, so they began making “hugs” which are bandannas filled with crystals that can soak up two cups of water. The soldiers wear these around their neck to keep cool and the ties are affectionately called “hugs.”
Karen said ,”We never intended to send anything more than ” we respect what you are doing” emails but the need was there.” Those emails and cooling ties turned into care packages and now almost a decade later The Hug Project is still going strong. To date the organization is in 50 states and 17 countries around the world, and has sent tens of thousands of care packages and hugs to our troops. Karen and her husband are making the world better, one hug at a time.
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