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Hugs Project Incorporated

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Citizen Participation, Human Services, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans, Women, Womens Service Clubs

Mission: Our mission is to give a “hug” (handmade item of warmth or cooling depending on season) to every American serving in the Middle East. We want every deployed troop to know we support their mission to protect our freedoms & to provide freedom to the people of the Middle East. This is our way of saying “Thank you, we appreciate you for serving our country”.

Target demographics: Troops and Veterans.

Direct beneficiaries per year: more people than even imaginable. No package is ever kept for the individual Troop to which it is sent. They throw their arms open wide and say, "Hey, come grab something!!" to all their battle buddies.

Geographic areas served: all areas where we can be of service

Programs: Prepare care packages for shipment to war zones for active militarypersonnel. Each care package contains food, personal hygiene items,and hand-sewn items.

Community Stories

248 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been sending care packages to deployed troops since 2004. In recent years we have also begun to provide FREE hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) to ALL veterans in conjunction with The Patriot Clinic. Both of these organizations are 100% volunteer run. I support both of these charities with my time and money. These two groups are the largest donations in my budget. I am fully confident that every dime they receive is spent to help our brave men and women.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I’ve been volunteering for The Hugs Project for over ten years. I work one day per week, more at Christmas time and at special events, to get several hundred “care packages” packed and ready for shipment to our troops in harm’s way. (We also ship C P’s out weekly during the year.). We believe this helps the morale of those who are protecting our freedoms. I feel that I am “giving back” and helping in some small way to help keep our country safe.

Julie259

Board Member

Rating: 5

Great group to volunteer with. They know how to support our troops.

Previous Stories
7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a great organization. All donations go to help the troops. No one earns a salary! My mom and I have made cookies, hugs, bracelets, dog leashes and so many other things. We've also collected donations like soap, shampoo, coffee, tea, condiments. This organization has helped me help our men and women serving this great country. I've been a volunteer for many years and plan to continue for many more. Everyone who works there makes you feel loved and respected.

Hearing the stories from the men and women who receive the care packages and how much we are helping them feel appreciated makes it all worthwhile. You couldn't ask for a better organization to help. Everything that comes in is used in someway to further the cause. Volunteer or donate today!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We, at Main Street Out Loud, are proud supporters of our troops, active and veteran. We are always interested to learn of organizations that are actively involved in military support efforts.

Before we ever endorse an organization, we travel to its base and get to know the organizing members and some of the volunteers. We had heard of The Hugs Project and, in time, among other stops, we traveled to Oklahoma to get a firsthand look.

From the moment we met Ray and Karen Stark (founders of The Hugs Project), we were more than impressed---we were overcome with gratitude. The feeling of true love and care for our troops was more than about the story as to how they started this organization; the feeling was felt in the air, in the rented space, in every box prepared for shipping and in the hearts of everyone we met.

Many organizations start off meaning well, but in time, they become a business with too much overhead and not enough sincerity in caring for the objective. Physical locations, admin costs and salaries erode the loving foundation upon which too many of these organizations are originally built and the once cherished daily functions become burdensome chores carried out in a robotic manner.

Unlike the way of organizations mentioned, The Hugs Project is every bit the organization started more than 15 years ago---if anything the love and care has increased through the unadulterated dedication to its founding principles of caring for our troops.

From our first meeting in 2010 to this day, we have stayed in touch with and supported The Hugs Project. We have had Karen Stark on the air, as our guest during special broadcasts regarding our men and women in uniform. And yes, we have even become close friends with Ray and Karen; we consider them as part of our extended family.

The Hugs Project, under the hands-on daily guidance of Ray and Karen Stark, is not only in good hands, it is surely the standard bearer for the true meaning of charity. Packed with the necessities so needed by our troops, also included is love without boundaries and sacrifice without limits. And while our troops need the material items, the boost in moral through the warmth felt as they open their packages---they get "Hugs" too.

Imagine the world if all social cause nonprofits (as The Hugs Project) were grounded in the purity of charity (love).

Without reservation, I, as executive producer and host of Main Street Out Loud, believe that no other nonprofit organization deserves recognition and support more so than The Hugs Project.

Rudi K
Main Street Out Loud

1 Louise M.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was fortunate to have learned about this incredible organization through a radio broadcast, Main Street Out Loud. Through the sincerity in Karen's voice and the many aspects of the Hugs Project Incorporated, I wanted to contribute and learn more. During a cross country road trip my husband and I planned time to not only meet the volunteers and see the "process", but volunteer some time ourselves. It was a well-organized group, several "stations", some with items being donated, other staging areas with the boxes to fill and a serpentine area of items to put in the boxes. Another area was set to address the personalized boxes for shipping. There was SO much excitement, such positive energy there surrounding being able to contribute and prepare packages for our deployed troops. I can't begin to imagine the wonderful benefits of receiving a package, when stationed so far from home.. along with the PTSD support after coming home. This nonprofit is such a "class act". I could not be more thankful and grateful for Karen, Ray and the entire group, and all the volunteers who make this effort so successful. Just take a look at the other reviews and you will see a common thread. Please, donate or volunteer. You may receive more than you give- by the pride of being part of this great team.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project sent my son and his team care packages during 6 deployments. You can't find nicer more caring people. Please make a donation so that they can continue to do what they do for fine young Americans. Thank you.

2 Carolyn S.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with this group for the past several years. We do our best to support our deployed troops with both personal care items and other less necessary items that bring a touch of home to them. We have also begun to assist homecoming troops with TBIs locate hyperbaric oxygen treatments. Our troops need to know that those of us at home support them. We are forever in their debt.

Previous Stories
9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this organization for several years now. It does a fabulous job in support of our troops. All donations of cash and products goes to our men and women who serve, none of the money goes toward salaries as everyone is truly a volunteer.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The thing I like best about The Hugs Project is the work they are doing to help brain injured combat troops. They are funding effective hyperbaric oxygen treatment in the Oklahoma City area and it's making a real difference for those of us who came back from war a little bit different. It was called "shell shock" in WWI but now we're calling it a mental disorder and the VA is just throwing pills at it. The Hugs Project has 9 of us guys in treatment and it's a miracle. I feel like I'm getting my life back. Check them out!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with this group for 10 years now. I love being able to send deployed troops items that they need. We, also, pay for hyperbaric oxygen treatments for military personnel who have Traumatic Brain Injuries and PTSD. This is an exciting new focus for our group!

Previous Stories
8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been sending care packages to deployed troops since 2004. In recent years we have also begun to provide FREE hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) to ALL veterans in conjunction with The Patriot Clinic. Both of these organizations are 100% volunteer run. I support both of these charities with my time and money. These two groups are the largest donations in my budget. I am fully confident that every dime they receive is spent to help our brave men and women.

Read more
1 John23456

Client Served

Rating: 5

Can't think of a finer, better run Military support group. Honored to have worked with them for many years. Before that, I was on the other side of the care packages and that felt pretty dang good too. Thanks, HUGS! You're the best bunch of people I know. Proud to support and be a part.

Previous Stories
6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Groups like The Hugs Project really make a difference. When I was deployed, we lived for mail call. To get a package from family was great but when you get something from total strangers, it would blow your socks off!!!

Thank you all for caring about a bunch of grunts you will never even meet. We love the great way you make us feel.

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1 Military Supporter

Volunteer

Rating: 5

30 care packages go out each week. 700 will be mailed at Christmastime. No better more supportive group that meets the need of some of America's finest young (and some not so young) men and women. HUGS LOVES TROOPS AND VETERANS!!!

For the past 5 years, they have been funding effective treatment for Military members with TBI/PTSd. Check out their website at: http://www.thehugsproject.com/hbot-for-tbi-veterans to learn more and you can also supply a name and address of your favorite deployed friend or loved one to receive a care package.

Thanks, HUGS.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

They've been sending care packages for the past 14 years. There's no cost to our military or their families. Now, they are funding effective Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for brain injured troops and veterans. GREAT, unselfish organization!!!!

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2 Donnie W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group just keeps getting better and better. They started in 2004 to send out a few care packages and then, they have kept at it for more than 15 years now. They decided the last ones out deserve support as much as the first in. Commendable.

They supported my guys throughout 3 deployments and now, they are sending boxes to my son and his unit!! Outstanding!!!

You can't go wrong donating to this stellar non profit!! Way to go, HUGS!!

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6

Client Served

Rating: 5

Simply the best. Their love of God and country shine through.

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2

Board Member

Rating: 5

What a privilege to volunteer at this wonderful organization which has done so much for our Military! I became involved with Hugs about 14 years ago because I saw how they did so much with few resources - and NO PAID STAFF, 100% volunteers! Hugs remains that way today and has expanded our mission beyond sending care packages to those serving in harm’s way. Additionally, for the last few years, Hugs has funded HyperBaric Oxygen Therapy for many of our Military and First Responders who have suffered injuries while serving this great nation. It is a joy to see the results of this effective treatment program in the lives of those we have helped treat!

Previous Stories
7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

There is no stronger support group for our troops and veterans than the Hugs Project! I have volunteered in various capacities for years and have learned that no donations are wasted. All money goes to our troops. Karen, Ray, and all the loyal volunteers love our military, and it shows in all that they have done and continue to do for our service members. You may help support this fine organization no matter your age or your financial standing. Everyone can have a part in uplifting and encouraging our troops by investing your time, talents, &/or treasures.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Started with The HUGS Project over 10 years ago, when my AF son went to Afghanistan the first time. It helped ME to be doing something to help those in harms way, and I know it helped many of them, by the letters and pictures of response we got. I also helped in various fund raising efforts, like the Blazing Sun - Run for Freedom - a super hot run in July to remind folks that our troops are in terrible heat WITH backpacks, etc...several military came out and ran in full gear and “Captain America” came with his dog to take the kids on a walk, looking for anything “bad” - he was great, getting down and looking at ant hills, hiding behind bushes, the kids participated and loved it! This non-profit organization is run on donations and they are stretched as far as possible. We send postage paid size boxes with everything from gum, canned tuna, protein bars and candy to socks, razors, baby wipes and toilet paper. Some of these folks are out in the country with no BX or Walmart in sight! The postage is NOT free, but the regular rate, and we pack them as tight and full as possible. I am proud to be a part of this amazing group of people, dedicated and selfless in so many ways.

Teresa A.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was given the number For the hugs project by a nurse at the VA medical center. I was there one day with my husband who has TBIand PTSD. I was at a loss, I didn't know where to turn, I was alone. No one understands PTSD, and/or TBI. I picked up the phone oneafternoon sitting in the church parking lot waiting for my mom to come out, made an appointment to go in and talk to the leader of the program. she got us in the very next day. 24 hours later, my husband had his very 1st hyperbaric Treatment. He now has completed over 60 treatments, I finally have my husband back. Thank you to the hugs project for helping my veteran to get the help that he needed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've worked with various non-profits and all of them do their dead-level best to help their target... from animals to children to the homeless and everything in between; but I've never worked with a more selfless crew than the folks at the Hugs Project. Ray and Karen Stark go way above and beyond to rally their volunteers to support the troops overseas with much needed personal supplies as well as the very clear message: You are Not Forgotten. The entire group spends time, donates supplies and money, makes things, sells, packs, ships, writes, wraps... you name it: If a soldier needs something, Hugs will try - and usually succeed - to get it. The Hugs Project is more than a non-profit; it's a Community serving and supporting its most cherished asset.

5 William T.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am very excited to know there are such great people and such a great organization out there to go to such lengths to support soldiers! As a vet that has suffered a TBI (non-service related) I am so excited to have spoke with Karen and learned of the steps being taken to provide help for those of us that have suffered the lasting effects of brain injury.

AMAZING ORGANIZATION!! =)

6 Melanie E.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Melanie Elliott from Kensington Kansas. I have volunteered with the HUGS Project for several years. I live several hours away from their headquarters and at our location we make "cup"cake mixes for their Christmas package project.
Everyone I have met, either in person or online. is passionate about troop support. Karen and Ray Stark have been awesome cheerleaders for their organization and go above and beyond for our nation's military personnel. Is it organized chaos sometimes? Oh my yes, but no matter what come up, what happens to derail the best laid plans, they keep everyone excited about the job at hand. I am honored to have been a part of this group since 2005

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been connected to The Hugs Project since 2004. Everyone volunteers and not penny is spent on anything but items for the troops and postage. The Oklahoma group is so very organized and energized to provide comfort for out military men and women. Scattered across the United States are several smaller groups and individuals making cool ties, travel pillows, quilts and other items to send to our troops. The Hugs Project is by far the best support group there is.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with Hugs for more than 5 years. They are caring, compassionate people who truly do love our military. Wish there were more like them.

6 DrCoffee

Client Served

Rating: 5

They do what they say they will. They do it when they say they will. I think they are aces!!

Previous Stories
7

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I served in the Navy during Desert Shield and Storm, care packages were the best part of ANY day. That hasn't changed.

We are making a difference in the quality of American lives and it feels good. Come join us.

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5 Helen16

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Simply STELLAR!!!

This group of patriotic folks work without pay to make sure our military's needs are met. They improve morale regardless of what state or branch the young man or woman is from or with. Kudos to The Hugs Project,

Previous Stories
7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son and his whole bunch of battle buddies knew someone back home cared because of the wonderful volunteers at The Hugs Project. None of them get paid to do what they do, they just want our troops to be well taken care of and to feel loved. How can it get any better? It can't. Thank you all.

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6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have never volunteered for a better group of people than The Hugs Project. Their goal is to help those serving in harm's way know they are loved by those back home. While volunteering we pack more needed items in one box than I thought was ever possible. People spend hours making homemade items that will give our troops items they need and a little piece of home. The cool ties, "hugs around the neck", really do help in times of extreme heat and we have heard back reports of how they have saved lives. No one serving in this group receives a paycheck so all donations go straight into sending items to our military. Ray and Karen Stark, the founders, go above and beyond anyone I have ever seen to give of their time to make sure our men and women serving our country know that we care and love them. I am so glad our paths crossed so I could join in serving our troops as well.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had an amazing time volunteering for HUGS PROJECT! They have so much to help send overseas to our military and what a blessing to give back to those who fight for us everyday. Love this project and the people that daily devote their time to it! What a blessing right here in Oklahoma!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love working with the Hugs Project. I enjoy hearing the stories of the men and women who receive the packages and how much they love the items in them. The Hugs Project uses everything that is donated to them. This is a great organization made up entirely of volunteers who work from the heart, not for a paycheck.

7 Sherri B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for The Hugs Project in 2006. This year we assembled care packages to send to the troops! It is a very organized and fun group to be a part of!!

Previous Stories
6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2006, when my son joined the Army National Guard, I started looking for an organization for which I could actually do something based around my work schedule. I came across The Hugs Project and the pattern for the "hugs" (cool ties). Since I can sew, I knew this was the organization for me! I could make these on my own time and then simply ship the "hug" to them.That was 6 years ago and I am still doing it, despite being remarried (to a former Navy member) and moving out of state! I love this organization!!!

6 Diana92

Donor

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is a truly unique nonprofit, benefitting troops and their families and also volunteers who become friends through working with this group. There are no words for those who lead this nonprofit, for their dedication and loyalty to the troops, and their willingness to donate time, time, and more time. Oklahoma City is a better place because of The Hugs Project.

Previous Stories
6

Donor

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is a super non-profit with a great, dedicated group of volunteers. I am so proud to have The Hugs Project as a local group to which we can donate. What a special service this organization offers to our troops and veterans.

6 Debra N.

Donor

Rating: 5

I personally know The Hugs Project and what they do for our military men and women. My Mom and I have donated food items and fabric and sewn for The Hugs Project for our men and women. This organization LOVES our military and goes above and beyond. I will continue to do whatever I can to support them.

Previous Stories
6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of The Hugs Project Oklahoma City for the past few years. Due to health problems, I have not been able to participate except through donations of fabric to make Cool Ties (Hugs) and other items to put in the Care Packages to send to our Military men and women. When I had family members serving overseas, The Hugs Project made sure they received a Care Package. They work very hard and are very dedicated to our Military men and women.

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6 Angie62

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a 4-H leader, I am constantly searching for community service projects for the kids to participate in. Karen and Ray Stark are such sweet people who work with the kids and never let us leave without Karen visiting with them about her 4-H career. Coming from a military family, I am more than eager to support our service men and women. It gives me pride to know that a box we packed was sent and received by very grateful military personnel. I know that a small gesture on our part helped make a person far from home a little bit brighter! I highly recommend everyone to take a few hours to volunteer at The Hugs Project in support of our military!

Previous Stories
8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with the Hugs Project & Karen Stark for years through my 4-H Club. She never fails to tell her story to the members and it just seems to hit home with many of them! Being able to send a little bit of love from home to our men and women stationed so far from home is the least we can do! The Hugs Project in Oklahoma is a wonderful organization that never says "no"! Through the countless hours and volunteers, Karen tries to ensure that every Oklahoman stationed abroad has a care package which shows her passion for our military! The need for care packages are not as many as in the past, but the donors, volunteers and staff continue with the mission. If you are looking for a great organization to donate to whether, it be monetary; time or products; you will not be turned away!!

5 Jennifer539

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I donated 144 baseballs to the Hugs Project a couple of years ago - it was great! They tucked one in each of 144 care packages going to Iraq and Afghanistan. We were so glad to be able to help.

5 dr-billye

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been supporting the Hugs Project for many years. I love the fact that supporting our troops with care packages is a priority, as well as supporting those troops who have returned home and need help with PTSD (The Hugs Project provides the oxygen for The Patriot Clinics.). Knowing that my donations are being used so wisely makes giving easy!

Previous Stories
4

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is a 100% volunteer organization sending care packages to our beloved troops. No one takes a salary at The Hugs Project, which sends about 100 packages a week and over 5,000 at Christmas. Each box contains "hugs," cooling neckties, which are hand made (over 1 million have been sent so far) and many items which are hard for our troops to get. Our troops deserve the thanks of a grateful nation, and The Hugs Project is trying to show our soldiers just how important they are to our freedom!

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We absolutely love what The Hugs Project is doing for our service members! Karen and Ray Stark are the most dedicated people I know. They are so welcoming to anyone who wants to help. All of the volunteers I've met there have amazing hearts.

2 Susan406

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was introduced to The Hugs Project by a coworker five years ago. My husband deployed two times since that meeting and THP sent packages to my husband and everyone that was deployed with them. The boxes they packed were loaded to the top. My husband's group was so amazed at how much they put into the care packages. I was so impressed with THP that I came on board and currently serve as their President. THP is filled with amazing volunteers who have so much love for our troops.

2 Beth143

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son and his Marine buddies benefitted from the Hugs every tour served in Iraq! Knowing people from home care did wonders for lifting their spirits! Thank you for all you do!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful group that's very caring and has lots of love for soldiers!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I heard many times of the ladies meeting in a near by town to make cake in a cup to send of to those in service for our country. Last year I joined the group and what a wonderful event. We spent the day chatting, laughing and filling mugs. I then heard how the mugs would travel with one of the ladies to a state south and then on to the service people. What a wonderful way to say thank you to those giving so much. The Hugs Project offers a wonderful way for people to give back if even just one cup at a time. Thank you Hugs Project

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I played in a golf tournament yesterday and our foursome was given the opportunity to make a donation to HUGS. Without hesitation, we kicked in $200. With a son flying an F-16 in the USAF, I look at all the men and women who serve as family. This is a small price to pay for the sacrifices these warriors make. Thank you HUGS.

1 Donnetta L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am honored to work with such wonderful people who work extremely hard getting things done for our soldiers in harm way. With the letters and pictures that we get makes us know that what we do give them a little bit of home. Being a Navy wife and a Marine mom (daughter) it make me feel good to be able to do this work.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have helped The Hugs Project for 6 years, it is a great organization that helps our troops overseas. I started when my brother was deployed and never left, that one box turned into hundreds of boxes for our troops. I love to read the Thank You notes we get back and how much they appreciate the little things we send. Most of the little things we send, we at home take for granted and don't think about being in the middle of nowhere and not having toothpaste or toothbrush. I love working with the other volunteers! We have a great time and able to support our troops!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to pack a box for my brother 4 years ago and never left. Everyone is a volunteer and we support all branches of the military. We support our troops year round averaging 50 a week and 5000 at Christmas.

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1 Jo W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work every Thursday and enjoy working with this dedicated group of people. We hope the unique and thoughtful items we include show our appreciation to our Service Men and Women how much we appreciate what they do for us.

1 Rob_31

Volunteer

Rating: 5

One of my customers told me about The Hugs Project just before Christmas, so I took my teenage son to check it out. We found a wonderful group of volunteers, tirelessly organizing and packing and making hand made gifts for our troops. We asked what we could do and next thing we knew the boxes were stacking up. So 3 weeks later when shipping day came we stacked care packages on pallets 6 feet high, thats a little more than 100 per pallet. There were close to 100 pallets that day being sent all over the world., and that was just the 1st shipment. All done with love from Karen and her organization. I've seen Pics of our troops opening them, and the happiness it brings to them while they are so far from home. The best charity I have volunteered at in a long time.

1 cheryl8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an absolutely awesome group. All volunteers, so all money donated goes directly to supporting the troops. When my son was deployed to Iraq, they shared packages of love with him and all his buddies. They were a blessing!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Loving, generous group. They sent boxes to my son and his men when he was deployed.. The boxes were carefully planned and thought out. All the members are wonderful people.

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1 JarheadJustin

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Gals in my unit were thrilled anytime we got a box from TheHugsProject. We never knew what to expect inside. They sent lots of great food, letters, fun stuff, toe nail polish ( yes, we had some ladies in our group and it's fun to please the girls), games, DVD's, socks, hair gel, etc.

We were never more excited than when we got a HUGS box. keep up the good work. We're not all home yet.

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12

Client Served

Rating: 5

I just want to say THANK YOU to The Hugs Project for making meknow that someone back home loves me and respects the job I've been called upon to do for my county. They couldn't have a higher rating in my book. Is 5 as high as I can go? I want rate them even higher than that. How about a 100 plus? Can I do that? LCpl Justin Manford USMC currently deployed

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have personally worked on projects with Karen and am constantly amazed at what she is abled to do for our service men and women. The Hugs Project is a beacon of light among nonprofit agencies and a testament to what a simple idea can blossom into.

1 Dorinda M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the wonderful opportunity of working with this group for a few days the first week of December. I drove from Houston to Oklahoma City just to do what I could do to help. I met some of the most wonderful people and I cannot tell you what a great group this is, young and old.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Been a member for about 4 years, even though it is a sweet long distance relationship. At 2:00 AM on Friday Dec. 8th 2012 I was instant messaging with Karen at HUGS in OKC, me in Houston, TX. She said they were sweating bullets packing the planned 5000 care packages out by Dec. 12th. Went to check the mileage, about 400plus. By noon Friday the 9th a friend and I were on our way up there in my RV I had just gotten. I didn't even know how to turn the furnace on in it and that was the 19 degree nights. We got in late Sat and met the bunch on Sunday and volunteered almost everyday until we had to drive back to Houston on Dec. 12th so we missed postal pickup. Most rewarding experience I have ever been a part of. Amazing young and old packing those packages. They wore me out, best tired I have ever had.

Dorinda McKenzie, Houston Texas

2 Linda192

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

HUGS is AWESOME!!!! My youngest son was deployed and I signed him and a few of his buddies up to receive Care Packages. When the packages arrived my son says that everyone gathered around their beds to see what they'd received. They'd grab something out of it and place the rest in the common areas to be shared.
One young man had no family to support him and my son said he actually had tears in his eyes as he opened his first package. The young man said that receiving that package let him know that there were people who cared if he were lonely, lost, and scared. He says that his box contained a letter thanking him for his service, praising him for being man enough to make the sacrifices he was making, and sending him prayers. He allowed everyone to read it then, he folded it up and put it in a safe place. To this day, he carried it around in his wallet. It's faded and warn from him rereading it so often but his hands still shake when he shows it to people.
But, HUGS didn't stop there. They didn't just "adopt" my son and his buddies, they adopted me as well. Without their love and support I would never have made it through my sons deployment. Mary and Karen checked up on me all the time, asked about my son and his buddies, and they listened to a mother's fears for her child. Without them, I would have never made it through the longest 12 months of my life with my sanity intact.
I can't thank HUGS enough for supporting my son, his buddies, and myself during that deployment. Your support made the sacrifices those young men and women made easier and less lonely, and helped ease my fears. Please keep up the good work!!! What you do touches the lives and hearts of many. THANK YOU!!!! And God Bless you all.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This group of people are amazing in how much they serve our men/women in harm's way. So many men/women have smiled simply because of the love and support they have shared.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was so impressed with this organization that I started a chapter here in western Kentucky. The work that is done by the home group is amazing. A LOT of work and dedication is needed to run a group like this when EVERYONE is a volunteer. Not too hard when someone is getting paid to do the work but much different when it's done 100% with love. There have been MANY of our heroes who have told us the stories of how much it meant to them to get the love and support that goes into every box sent. Even after they come home it sometimes makes a difference. Just knowing someone cares is enough to get you thru a bad day over there. I love our heroes and I love The Hugs Project for doing what they do.

1 Paula32

Donor

Rating: 5

This is the best organization that I have worked with because the volunteers are so dedicated towards their cause. I don't think any money goes to "administrative costs" because all the volunteers reach deep into their pockets to pay for their high costs. The military are experiencing reduced supplies and they really deserve so very much. I pray for the service members who are so appreciative of their Hugs boxes and I hope they return safe. I am very grateful to the Hugs group for what they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with the Hugs Project early on, since I don't know when exactly. I can't even remember where we met, it wasn't at the current Crossroads Mall though. I've volunteered time, money and talent since I first answered a newspaper article at its early beginnings. You see I did not know anyone in the military, but after reading the article I was so moved to do something for the troops, might have been Desert Storm. I haven't been as active as in the beginning because of raising my granddaughter, but have become more so because my granddaughter, age 7, can help as well. The 2012 Christmas campaign was memorable for her because she colored and wrote messages on the care packages. She even got a glimpse of her artwork when the local television station aired the event. She is always asking to go to the Hugs Project so she can help. Karen and Ray work Hugs Project 24 hours a day with only admiration, respect and love from the troops and members as payment for service.

Client Served

Rating: 5

AFTER A HARD DAY OF WORK I GET A UNKNOW CARE PACKAGE FROM THIS LOVING GROUP OF AMERICAN HEROS, THE HUGS PROJECT. I DID NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING OR KNOW THEM BUT THEY SENT ME GOOD STUFF I DID NEED AND SOME OF MY FELLOW DEVIL DOGS. THIS LOVING GROUP OF OKIES REALLY KNOWS HOW TO MAKE A GREATFUL NATION PROUD TO SERVE A GIVING GOD TO SOME MANY WITH NOTHING AND HERE I STAND GIVING IT BACK WITH MY FELLOW AMERICANS AND YES THE BAD GUYS. AND THE LOOK ON THEIR FACE, AS IF THEY THINK WE WERE GOING TO DO BAD THINGS TO THEM AFTER WE CATCH THEM. LORD CONTINUE TO BEST OUR COUNTRY AND THIS LOVING GROUP OF AMERICANS THE HUGS PROJECT. AMERICA BLESS GOD! SSGT TED KREY SEMPERFI

1 onebzemom

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If you have read any of the posted reviews, you already know what the HUGs Project is and what they do for the US Military. I have been a "Career Volunteer" my whole life, and this is the one organization that has done/will continue to do, the most good for the most people that I have ever worked with. Non-military sometimes have a hard time understanding the career choice of men and women who have taken on the job of protecting their country. The HUGs Project champions these military members with unquestioning support year round...not just during the holidays (which is when they send out 5,000 packages!) but every day. Each week, 50-75 CARE packages are mailed to troops in all services who are serving in harm's way. This non-profit group is run by an amazing couple that are tireless in their dedication to the cause, with the promise, "As long as they are fighting for our freedom, we'll work to support them." This is a remarkable group that I am proud to be a part of.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project in Oklahoma City has made a difference in so many lives. After 23 years of duty in the Air Force, my husband and I settled down in OKC to raise our children. Our son is now an active duty Air Force helicopter pilot. During his year in Afghanistan, I became acquainted with Karen and Ray Stark and started volunteering with THP . They started and have kept the HUGS program running from their Edmond home and the Crossroads Mall storefront location. Volunteers from all around the area meet Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday's to make hand sewn items (the HUGS that go around the neck to be wet and help cool the body), take large quantities of goods and make smaller baggies of the items (beef jerky, candy, gum, hygiene items, etc.), write encouraging notes to the Troops, and fill CARE boxes. Usually about 30-50 boxes go out every week to Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 4,000 boxes were sent overseas in December, full of Christmas candy, mugs of hot chocolate mix, knitted hats, socks, homemade goodies, granola bars, Twinkies, wrapped presents, books, toys for local children, ornaments, and as much love as could be packed into them. The letters expressing thanks from the Troops who received these boxes can break your heart. Being supported by total strangers gives them a lift in spirit, hope that they are appreciated, and a touch of home in a very scary place. This volunteer organization touches the lives of the Troops, the lives of children and locals they come in contact with, and it touches the hearts of all the volunteers from various walks of life who come to work here throughout the week. The Hugs Project is an amazing, totally non-profit organization, that does a huge amount of good for all who work there and for all who receive the boxes that are sent. Every box that goes out from THP, goes with the love of those supporting our Troops in harm's way.

Review from Guidestar

1 Kelli K.

Donor

Rating: 5

I learned about The Hugs Project years ago online. I've done what I can to support through fabric donations and money when I can. This year I had a high school classmate deployed overseas. I sent this group of people the name and address for my friend. Before I could blink they sent him a care package. My friend was touched by the kindness of strangers. I can't speak highly enough of The Hugs Project!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering since 2004. HUGS has sent packages to my family & friends serving overseas. They are efficient and so thoughtful about how they spend. Every penny goes to the troops!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is such a wonderful charity. All one needs to do is ask and they will send a care package. In addition they look for service personnel to send packagers to. When both my daughter and son in law where deployed to Iraq they sent them care packages that were very useful . As my son in law said they really knew what they were doing and what was needed. They make helmet warmers for our service members to put under their helmet that keeps their heads warm. For places that are very hot they send an item- its like a scarf, very lightweight - that gives you a hug that when activated with water cools you down. This is life saving . They have never turned down a requests and wok tirelessly to help out our deployed military women and men. I can not say enough wonderful things about this charity. They deserve to be considered one the top great charities. Even though both my marines Were deployed in 2008, I have sent them request for other military members who are active duty. They always respond.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a staff member of Feed The Children, we cannot say enough about The Hugs Project. It is a little TLC from home. They are well organized and have a great volunteer base. It also helps give family members peace of mind knowing their loved ones are receiving a care package to lift their spirits while they are serving our country. We are proud to partner with The Hugs Project.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project sends approximately 100 care packages weekly to our troops and 5,000 at Christmas. It is all volunteer--no one takes salaries, and the headquarters is donated by Crossroads Mall. They also pay the water and electricity. "Hugs" are the cooling neckties that are sewn for the troops to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. The Hugs Project has sent over 1 million "hugs" to the Middle East. Many other things are sent in the care boxes--things our troops need. It is a great organization!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is amazing and truly cares about our troops. As a volunteer, I know that no one gets a salary; and thanks to Crossroads Mall who donates our space and utlities, more of the donated money can be used for more items for our troops. Nothing is wasted at The Hugs Project! If you can't physically go work at headquarters, there are many things you can do at home. Just visit www.thehugsproject.com to learn what you can do. Our troops deserve the thanks of a grateful nation.

pattihms

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband and I have assisted The Hugs Project for four or five years by supplying needed supplies and when health permits, working at their facility. They touch so many soldiers lives with the work they do and it is staffed entirely by volunteers. We heartily recommend this group as a very worth while organization.

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Donor

Rating: 5

I heard about The Hugs Project accidently and filled out a form for my nephew who was stationed in Iraq at the time. He received a package and was very excited to share it with his fellow squad. The contents of the package was just what he needed at the time;kool aid powders to put in their thermos was a great addition. The beef jerky,cd's flashlight and more goodies to eat. Thank you so very much The Hugs Project.

SpaGirl S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The message is clear at HUGS PROJECT - they care. All volunteers give of their time and resources to create and send packages to our military, which are lovingly received by our soldiers. Many thanks for a job well done.

dkrivenko

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is a wonderful organization. Not only do they continue to keep deployed members of the military in packages, they do it with lots of love, blood sweat and tears. They are helping remind those deployed there really are people back in the States supporting them and loving them.

My son has been the recipient of packages during both his deployments to Iraq. His buddies also received packages. I know when my son deploys again, he will be on their list and receive a ton of wonderful stuff/

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is a wonderful organization. My Marine son was deployed to Iraq twice and both times received lots of great stuff from them. It really warms a mother's heart knowing someone cares enough to try to make their son's time away a little more comfortable. This is done not even knowing my son! How great is that?

david17

Donor

Rating: 5

The HUGS Project provides a service to our fighting men that can't always be known to those within the program and those that receive the packages. I provide dollars and goods to the project and I know that when a soldier receives a package his/her heart and spirit is raised to a new level.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

HUGS is the best that I have seen for a nonprofit org doing service for our troops. The greatest thing I personaaly admire is that when one submits a soldiers name they ship a package. The next best is the receivers are so proud to receive not only the goodies but also the personal items. HUGS could not do it a\ny better.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been associated with The Hugs Project since 2004. All are volunteers and all have extremely unlimited huge hearts. Hundreds of thousands of cool ties (hugs) have been made by many of us and many more are made yearly. Our A.F. daughter was deployed twice and they came through with packages to help her fellow troops that did not receive support from home. When a call goes out for a needed item or to help, hundreds respond and are there to help. I've belonged to several military based organizations and The Hugs Project is by far the best. God Bless our troops, and The Hugs Project.

2 Anita M.

Donor

Rating: 5

I support The Hugs Project because I support our troops. Hugs people do a great job of boosting their morale. My son's in the military and has received care packages from the group. It has meant a lot to him that someone cared enough to make or gather so many thoughtful items and send as a gift from home.

Several handmade items are adapted to fit the special circumstances of combat troops. For example, board games are made of fabric to be light and easily transported. The cooling neckties make life a little more bearable in the desert, and they have been known to actually save lives.

Just a great organization.

2 Shirley234

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Love and caring for the American troops must be contagious and Karen and Ray Stark are the most infectious carriers! Their love, concern and dedication to serving those who are serving us in the military is impossible to ignore. The result of working with or donating to the Hugs Project is such a good feeling you just want more of that feeling!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is with great pleasure that write this here. A little background first. In my own experience, I have been in both Iraq and Afghanistan (twice each), and while in Afghanistan I had the privilege to be involved in not one but two missions with my own son. I have had two nephews who have served in Iraq as well. What I am getting at is this, I know what our "kids" are going through, been there done that with them. And back in April I had the opportunity to meet and get to know some great members of this group, Karen and Ray, and to find out first hand the great job they and all the HUGS members do, all without pay, to help our troops in harms way. And most times paying for the items they make with their own funds. They do not just care, they really care, very deeply. If you have been seeking a group to join or donate to, my money is on the Hugs Project.

Gra C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

So nice to know that when your son is far from home someone wants to send him a hug.