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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.

9

Client Served

Rating: 5

In my humble experience, the HUGS project is nothing short of outstanding! I look forward every month for something form them. God bless all that are involved in this great project. Little things that they send make a big difference! From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hugs Project is a great way to show Servicemembers that their service is appreciated. My thanks for Hugs Project for all their support to our Servicemembers serving in today's global contingency operations!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to Hugs probably six years ago frustrated that I was 60 years old and felt I wasn't doing anything to be supportive of our soldiers, especially those in Iraq. Working in the midst of other concerned Americans gave me a good feeling that I was finally doing something to help. The thank you letters from the soldiers make our efforts especially worthwhile. In compiling the care packages there is work for all ages from sorting, cutting, sewing, ironing, gathering, taping, writing messages, even making games. It's a well-managed, well-organized effort that always needs helping hands and financial support for postage. It's a privilege to be associated with this group and its leaders who find the energy to keep going year after year.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Hugs Project member for more than five years. This group is unselfish in it's support of the Troops around the world. After persoanlly sending many boxes filled with cooling ties (HUGS), helmet coolers (KISSES), neck pillows, etc., the most heart warming email I received was a very sincere "Thank You" from one soldier who was grateful for a bar of soap I had sent. He had lost his soap and couldn't replace it. His note brouhgt tears to my eye. Such thanks for so little, I thought. These men and woman put their lives on the line for us. The least we can do is send them America's thanks. I support the Hugs Project and everything they do for our Troops.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WOW!!! What to say about this awesome group of caring people? They kept me sane while my husband was deployed. I spent way too much time worrying before I started working with them. After I went to their office and worked my frst Saturday, I found myself taking work home and as I spent more time making things to send in care packages, I spent less time worrying about myself. This project's good for the troops but it's also good for the vounteers and for the military families. Way to go HUGS!!! You guys ROCK!! Jen

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became acquainted with HUGS about 4 years ago. My aunt (89 at the time) and I purchased materials and made the Cool Tie (neck Hugs) for the troops. We found about about The HUGS Project and started working with them. My husband is also involved. We have helped at Christmas time packing the boxes. We spread the word via the internet and through friends and with our church. HUGS is very well run. A very small percentage of the funds raised is spent on anything other than postage or items for the troops. Volunteers meet 3 times a week and go quietly about their tasks of making cool ties and other items. Everyone is so friendly. Kids from the age of 5 and adults to the age of 85 or so meet and work together doing any job that is needed that day. I feel as though I am contributing greatly to help boost the morale of the troops and their families. People give of themselves whether it is time, money, or articles or just saying prayers. It is a great way to volunteer and the founders, Karen and Ray, are so dedicated to the project and to our troops. The enthusiasm is contagious. My granddaughters (13 and 11) want to go to HUGS to work all of the time. I see that they go as often as possible as I believe that they need to know why people are sacrificing for their freedoms.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TheHugsLady 03/23/2010

Oh my goodness, don't let Dorothy and Hazel hear you say 85 or so. They both come to volunteer each and every Wed. and they are in their 90's!!! You make a great point though...one is never too young or too old to appreciate and value FREEDOM!! Thanks for your review. Karen

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I just volunteered for the first time a couple of weekends ago and truely enjoyed it. We spent about 5 hours with them and they are the sweetest people and they really care about what they are doing. My family and I are planning on volunteering again and making it a regular thing for us!

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project have sent packages to addresses I have provided to them. All the troops have been thrilled to receive "Hugs & Kisses". I also had the honour of working with Karen & Ray at a VFW convention in Orlando several years ago. They worked hard, to raise funds to send packages to our troops on the home front. These hard working dedicated troop supporters inspire many others to work along side of them, and they never forget that have troops needing their help, daily. Thank you volunteer folks of the Hug Project.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is one of the most worthwhile non profits I have found in a long time. Our men and women serving should know how much we care about them. Some of them do not have family that care or can send them things from home that remind them of the place they will be coming back to. This project does that, it makes every soldier feel like they have a piece of home right there in the horrible war conditions they are subject to. My son did a food fundraiser at his school for the HUGS and he has been there twice so far to help fill boxes. It has been a very rewarding experience for my whole family. It makes you remember who fights for the great country we live in and the freedom that is provided.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have helped at "hugs", for 5 years, can't imagine being anywhere else on Wednesdays. if you can't sew or knit,[there is always ironing!!] re-packaging items that come in plastic, or cardboard; we use thousands of ziplock bags, all sizes,,,think of new ways to make life a little easier for the TROOPS . The children love to help, whether it is tearing open boxes, or drawing pictures on boxes to be mailed.We are also there on Thursdays and Saturdays. As I have learned to say , Y'ALL COME SEE US. you will be impressed.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I feel The Hugs Project is a great charity. Not only do my parents devote numerous hours cutting the material for the hugs and spending time at the center volunteering, my daughters are also very involved. The ask, beg, plead to go out there to help. It is very rewarding as a parent to have children who want to spend time on spring break, christmas break or during the summer help a worth while project. My youngest has even invited a friend to go with here and see what it is like. Both of my girls were given a monetary gift about 6 months ago. Both of them came to me asking if they could give a portion of it to HUGS.

7

Board Member

Rating: 5

My wife & I first learned about The Hugs Project in December of 2008 just before Christmas. We decided to see what it was about and started helping out in the "arcade" packing boxes and making chocolate-covered pretzels to send to the troops. We also spent an early morning at Will Rogers Airport seeing off young soldiers who were going home for Christmas from Ft. Sill. We attended a "members meeting" shortly after that and somehow ended up on the board. Through that we have learned more about "Hugs" and have become more involved. I volunteer weekly (unless out of town) and enjoy it immensely. It is "the least" I can do for those young men and women in harms way protecting my family and our country. God bless them all. Also, I have the pleasure of working along side some of the nicest, most giving people you could ever meet. I can lay my head down at night knowing that I have done something worthwhile and realizing that because of our troops I have a place to "lay my head" at night. Most people are busy these days just trying to get through life. If you find yourself with a little extra money in your pocket, then "Hugs" is a good place to put it, or if you have extra time then "Hugs" is a good place to spend it. You won't regret it.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

The HUGs project sent care packages to my men in Afghanistan. They sent cool teck ties (hugs) and helmet liners (kisses) to keep us cool in the 140 degree summers. They also sent blankets and Christmas gifts in the winter. Of course lots of groups are charitable like the HUGS Project, but there was something different about this group. The members wanted to do more than send boxes. They sent correspondance and lots of love. They took a personal interest. They linked my men with other families in a broad network of sharing and fraternity. I guess that might seem ok to some people, but the needs of the modern combat Soldier, Sailor, Marine, and Airman are great so I found it to be Heaven Sent! We needed a means to vent frustrations as we were under massive stress. We needed to feel a sense of belonging as we missed our own families terribly. We needed to feel like what we did was a service the American people desired and appreiciated. The HUGs Project fulfilled these needs for us. In our darkest hours, they were the Cavalry who came to our rescue. I know these folks all deserve ample thanks and they all have my eternal appreciation, but specifically I wanted to thank Lee Coe, Dawn Case, and Debbie Cappel. These three cared for me on a personal level and even connected with my familiy back home. If the HUGs volunteers are all saints, then these three women are most assuredly angels. God bless the HUGS Project and God Bless America. Sincerly MAJ Curtiss Robinson, ARSIC-S Police Mentor Team Chief, Shahjoy district, Zabul province.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For those who want to feel like their money is well spent and their time is going to a worthy cause, the HUGS Project fits the bill. First, there are no salaries or huge overhead, so I know the vast majority of any monies donated goes to the actual ministry. Second, the cause of supporting our soldiers is certainly one which I can support.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group is one of the most together groups I have volunteered for. The Hugs Project keeps you informed what is needed, how to do it, where to send it and when they will be working on putting the donations together. I have sent many packages to names they have given me and participated in their troop projects. Their guidance is unsurpassed and I am sure the troops on the receiving end of their work would give them a thumbs up. Keep up the good work and our troops will be well taken care of. Thanks!!

5

Donor

Rating: 5

These are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met. They go full tilt almost all the time to make sure that their mission to support our troops is carried out. Sometime I have wondered if the Starks and their workers ever sleep. Still, when you visit their 'command post' at Crossroads Mall, everyone is so pleasant and helpful and besides the cool tie (HUGS) and goodies they put in those boxes, you can always get the other kind of HUGS too. This is just a great group working hard for a great cause! Jingles

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful, wonderful organization. I appreciate that my kids can actively volunteer for such a positive group! We look forward to returning many times. Thank you!

5 TheHugsLady

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is the best group anyone could ever hope for. Our members are dedicated to supporting Americans far from home. We were the first ones to send cooling ties to the troops serving in the Middle East. We call them "hugs" since they go around the neck and we think all our troops deserve a {{{hug}}}. Cooling ties can reduce body core temps by 5+ degrees helping save our troops from heat stroke deaths. I want to thank every member who has ever made a cooling tie, packed a box, written a letter, made a homemade goodie or prayed for these brave young men and women. Without you, there would be no Hugs Project. Respectfully, Karen Stark Founder/Executive Director

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with The Hugs Project for about 7 years. When I found out that the hugs we sew can save lives by cooling our troops during those severe summer temps that they have to serve in, I got busy, bought 100% muslin by the bolt, made myself a hug turner with the info on our website, bought pounds of water sorb crystals and sewed and sewed and sewed. I love knowing that I have done something to help those young men and women that serve our nation so well. I also write letters every week to individuals who don't get much mail. If they respond by email, and some do, I email them once a week also. But that letter goes into the mailbox every week as well. I send them crossword puzzles, word search games and Sunday comics, too. They need to feel that connection with home in the simple things and know that their service is keeping life good at home for all of us.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family, especially my daughter, helped to start this wonderful group. We sponsored the original group hug at our church, attended many of the next several and developed tools and techniques with them. My little girl has grown up presenting this project to 4-H kids, fair goers, and many other groups, meanwhile making large numbers of hugs, and sending many packages. Having been intimately involved in the early progression from idea to working group, we know exactly how much good and on how tight a budget this group can work near miracles in helping our troops! It's GREAT!!! It made my daughter and my family more caring, more sharing, and more aware. It was clear when we were on TV several times that it would be a wonderful project, but just how big it has gone is a fantastic surprise. It is terrific to look back and think about the first donation big enough to acquire water holding crystals in a 50 pound bag... big enough to make many hundred Hugs and big enough to get so many people involved. Its time to deliver more hugs to the group... and time for the weather to go higher on the thermometer than most of us will ever see it, so time to get busy again!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found The Hugs Project 5 years ago when I was looking for a way to support our troops. My son had just joined the Marines and I wanted to do something that would also help him when he deployed. I was very impressed with the group when Karen received a request from a higher-up Marine in Iraq for 10,000 Hugs and the various groups had them made and sent within 3 to 4 weeks!! Reading the "Thank yous" received makes me realize that this is something very important to our military and I am grateful to continue to be a part of it!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with The Hugs Project when my brother was deployed in 2006. He and his unit requested 1000 cool ties and recieved them that summer. I started a group in Kansas City,MO, and it has been supporting those men and women everyday since. I love the way that this group has brought support to the community, those left behind during deployment, and those that are away. I have also been thoroughly impressed with the kindness of the community and their donations during fundraiser efforts.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with the Hugs Project in OKC for 2 1/2 years and I see the wonderful response received from the military men and women who have received our care packages. It is a very worthwhile organization helping those who serve us everyday in harms way.

Comments ( 1 )

profile

TheHugsLady 03/19/2010

In OKC, over the past several weeks, we've been sending packages to military members serving in Haiti. Yes, they're not actually in what one would consider "in harm's way" but they did contact us because they were needing supplies. The Hugs Project has never said "no" to a troop in need. Thanks for your review and especially for your HUGe heart for our brave troops. K@ren

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Hugs project is an amazing group of people who truly care about our troops. Karen and the gang, never batted an eye when I asked for cold weather gear for my son and his platoon in the mountains of Afghanistan this past winter, now that things are HOT! They graciously sent over 40 cool ties to my son's platoon, making sure there were enough for everyone. They have included my son on their care package list, when I was financially unable to send packages to him. Often as a marine mom we learn of other young men and women who are deployed but who are receiving little or no mail from home. I have passed these names on to the hugs project as well, and they made sure to add them to their lists. My son called and said mom, Marine X got a package today from the Hugs Project and he said it made him so happy that someone thought of him. He couldn’t believe that someone he didn’t even know sent him this wonderful box. What a morale booster. Everyone always shares with each other but it is nice when you get a box addressed to you. I am so grateful for all the support my son and his fellow marines, as well as all the troops they support, receive from this outstanding organization. There just are NO words to completely express my gratitude to them. God Bless, "The Hugs Project" and all of the volunteers who work so hard to support our troops.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is truly an amazing selfless organization that functions solely to support and serve our military who are serving in harms way! This group of volunteer men and women throughout our nation sacrifice their time and resources to send letters and packages from home to our service men and women, and I am deeply honored and proud to be a small part of it. The leadership of the group stretches every donated dollar for its maximum benefit on behalf of the military. They are also incredibly protective of the security of the names of our servicemen & women. It is truly an organization to be commended to the highest for its purpose and mission!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am extremely impressed at the dedication of all the volunteers with this project to support our troops. The founders and volunteers work tirelessly to find needed funding and new ideas for items that will make our troops lives a little easier. I coordinated our staff Day of Service Project and everyone came away with a sense of pride that we could contribute to such a worthy cause.

5 martin3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Everyone says, "been there, done that" but I really have. Served in both Iraq and then again 2 times in Afghanistan. America's troops are doing a hard job without adequate supplies and it's groups like The HUGS Project that keep us going and motivated. We feel like these people are the true heroes. We're just doing our jobs. They don't have to do what they do but they do it because they care about us and that's better than gold. I've gotten care packages with hugs in them and just want to say thank you to each and every member who's ever packed a box or written a letter to let us know that you haven't forgotten we're still over here. May God continue blessing America and the good people of The HUGS Project.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs project is an awesome prgram. It provides a valuable service to members of the military in harms way. I enjoy being a part of this organization as a volunteer and feel I could never do as much as they have done.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had been a member of the HUGS PROJECT since 2004 after reading an article in our local paper. My husband is a Viet Nam vet and I wanted a way to help our young men and women in the military. Even though I have never met the "hugs" members in person, I feel like I've known them forever. We are all supportive of each other in various endeavors. It's the best group on the Internet with the biggest heart for our troops.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined this group and many others to support my Soldier. Evan is just back from Afghanistan. The wonderful folks at the Hugs Project sent him several care packages during his year of deployment. They also inspired me to work with a group of friends to make Hugs and send them to Evan's unit to help keep them cool over there!

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so impressed with the work this group has done and is continuing to do for our military. As the mom of a soldier who has been deployed for almost a year, receiving care packages are a welcomed and treasured event. They are a connection from home and something that everyone looks forward to. Thank you to all who have had their loving hands involved in taking care of these courageous young men and women.

6

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project is a consistent and wonderful project that supports our troops. The people that work with the project are to be commended for their big hearts and hard work.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had been a member of other groups helping our troops, but stayed the longest the HUGS PROJECT since 2006. The people in this group have the biggest hearts for our troops and all is given in a great grass roots effort. Ideas fly from one end of the country to the other to help everyone with any ongoing project. We support each others sons, daughters, wives, husbands and complete strangers. The energy these people generate is fantastic. Groups of various sizes connected with the HUGS PROJECT are all over the country of varying degrees of members, all with the same effort of helping and letting our troops know we are here for them. The largest pitfall is obtaining money for postage, whether with the group or individually. The thank you notes we receive usually brings a lump to the throat, and many tears. Tears of joy knowing we will never forget our troops. I remember the returning Viet Nam troops, and I will never let that happen again. Our troops have our backs. The least we can do is give them a 'hug' and let them know we are here for them.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined The Hugs Project in 2006 and am now president of the Elkhart, IN chapter. I've organized our groups here, made hugs, knit wool items for winter, bought care package items, helped with fund raisers and anything else I can to grow THP in our area. It is a wonderful organization and I've been blessed to be part of it.

7

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Hugs Group is a wonderful organization. I wish I could do more monetarily to help them out for all that they do. My son is deployed to Afghanistan at this time and I know how important it is when these men receive packages and items to help make it more comfortable for them. I am hoping when I finish school and am in a better financial situation to be able to make a contribution for them. Thank you Hugs for all your do for our Men and Women!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard of The Hugs Project in 2007 through our state extension organization, Oklahoma Home and Community Education. One of OHCE's goals was military support, and The Hugs Project serves as a channel, focusing those efforts. We received patterns and training from them and made the cooling ties ("HUGs"), learned how to pack care boxes for shipping, and enjoy the reward of knowing that what we do really makes a difference to the troops. The care packages not only boost morale and provide personal touches from home, they also supply much-appreciated items otherwise unavailable in rugged field conditions. I know The Hugs Project will be there to assist when my sons deploy, and they will know that someone besides direct family members appreciates the sacrifices they make.

8

Donor

Rating: 5

My late wife, Marlene, heard about The Hugs Project and quickly immersed herself in creating HUGS neck coolers and other useful articles. She worked by herself in Tulsa, buying all the needed materials in bulk and every month or two, we would jointly pack and ship boxes to our valiant and dedicated troops overseas. Being a Vietnam Vet, I wanted to help and Marlene had incredible talents - so we made a good volunteer group!! We got addresses from Karen and occassionally received warm thank you notes from serviceman. One I got 2 weeks after her untimely death. Shortly thereafter I was able to give all the supplies Marlene had accumulated for future HUGS shipments, also had a garage sale and donated the funds to HUGS. It is an awesome group with tiny overhead and lots of dedicated volunteers.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have belonged to this organization since at least 2005. I have never seen an instance where the members of this group are doing things for them selves. This group is all about helping our troops overseas, especially the ones in harms way. In fact sometimes imaginations work over time and we have too many ideas for helping our troops. The fact remains that the goal of the Hugs Project remains firm- " a Hug to those serving our country.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped to make Hugs for this organization to send to the troops that they love so much. My son was stationed in Iraq and was a recipient of their care packages. Their patriotism and love of our troops puts them at the top of the list of organizations to support in any way possible. Keep up the good work Hugs Project Inc

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my husband deployed, my children and I wanted to do more for the service men and women who were away from their own families. I truly enjoyed the experience of donating materials, packing care packages and decorating the outside of those boxes that would brighten someone's day in the midst of what had to be a trying time for them. My small children really found the experience to be therapeutic when they felt helpless in that situation.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received several care packages from The Hugs Project when I was deployed to Iraq during the troop Surge in 2007-2008. When we were enduring rocket and mortar attacks almost daily, and I was separated from my family for a year while serving our country, it was very comforting to get a care package from home. Even in these days of email and phone access, there is nothing like a care package when one is deployed. Since my return I have volunteered for The Hugs Project. Karen Stark and the rest of the Hugs folks are true servant leaders. I thank God for them. -Kevin Calvey Captain, Army National Guard

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the past two Christmas seasons I have had the priviledge helping the HUGS PROJECT with their Christmas packages. The volunteers at HUGS are a great team. They really care about the men and women over fighting overseas. They prove that with every box they pack. When we pack boxs make some of the goodies or one of the games. We are putting a little bit of us in each of those boxs. So our men and women in the service know that we care about them.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with hugs for about 6 months and I have never been so proud of anything in my life. What a wonderful organization this is. Karen formed a small thought of love into a huge organization of "hugs" for our serviceman and women. Thank God for all men,women and Karen who cared enough to help in a bad situation.

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Having been the Commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard, I am an ardant supporter of the amazing work that "The Hugs Project" does for our soldiers and airman. The volunteers, the leadership, the dedication to keep those defending American aware that folks at home appreciate their sacrifices. They are a 4 star in my book.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

IM A SSGT IN THE ARMY NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYED OVERSEAS PULLED FROM MY GOOD PAYING FULLTIME JOB AND HAD TO DEAL WITH A SMALLER PAY CHECK FOR A YEAR 3 X AND BE IN CHARGE OF 30 TROOPS. THE HUGS PROJECT SENT US CARE PACKAGES THAT MADE US REMEMBER THAT THE LIES ON THE NEWS DIDN'T MATTER BUT THE PRIDE OF THE AMEERICANS ARE STILL WITH US AND SOME STRANGER THAT I NEVER MET CARES ENOUGH TO LET ME KNOW AND PRAY FOR OUR SAFE RETURN. AFTER MY DUTY WAS COMPLETE I RETURNED THE PATRIOT PRIDE WITH VISITING EVERY STUDENT AT THEIR SCHOOL ON THEIR BIRTHDAY, PLUS FINDING THIS LADY WE CALL MOM OF THE MILITARY AKA MRS. KAREN STARK. I FIND HER SUPPORTING THE TROOPS AGAIN AT A COOK OUT FOR THE MARINES AT SGT. GRITS (GRUNT.COM) THANK HER AND ASK HOW CAN I HELP HER DO WHAT SHE IS NOW DOING FOR US TROOPS, THEN I VISIT HER AGAIN AT THE LOCATION WERE THEY ARE PUTTING CARE PACKAGES TOGETHER AND IT GAVE ME A NEW DUTY AS IRON THE HUGS BEFORE ADDING THE CRISTALS. AND WITH MY DAUGHTER WORKING AT STARBUCKS SHE HELPS COLLECT COFFEE FROM ALL THE LOCAL STARBUCKS DONATING WEEKLY COFFEE. SHE WAS ABLE TO LEARN FROM THE HUGS PROJECT HOW TO MAKE THINGS WE SEND TO THE TROOPS LIKE HAND WARMERS, SCARF, STOCKING CAP, AND A FEW SEVERAL MORE ITEMS. THIS GROUP OF PEOPLE DO SOME MUCH FOR THE TROOPS FOR NOTHING IN RETURN, THEY TRUELY LOVE THE TROOPS AND THE COUNTRY THEY DEFEND. FROM THE 1ST DAY I STARTED SUPPORTING THEM I CAN'T THING OF A DAY I DID NOT TELL SOMEONE ABOUT THEM. I EVEN HAVE FUN EVERY TIME IM'M THERE, THE BEST TIMES ARE DURING THE CHRISTMAS PASSING OF EVERY CARE PACKAGE IN A LONG HUMAN CHAIN OF OVER 4,000 CARE PACKAGES PASS EVERY HAND TILL IT FINDS THE US POSTAL TRUCK TO GO ON ITS WAY TO A TROOP IN HARMS WAY THAT IS SOMETHING ME AND MY DAUGHTER BOTH WILL NEVER FORGET. THANK YOU FOR THE TIME AND GOD KEEP BLESSING THE HUGS PROJECT RET. SSGT TED KREY FORMER USMC/ARMY/AIRFORCE (MILITARY POLICE) SEMPERFI AMERICA BLESS GOD STOP ASKING HIM TO DO WHAT HE IS DOING AND START LOOKING FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE...

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was the Christmas season of 2009, and I was looking for a place to volunteer my time and help many people. I'm so very glad to have come across The Hugs Project, because I not only found what I was looking for, but much more. The amount of items and care packages being prepared to be sent off to the troops was abundant, and the love and dedication going along with these packages was just as great. Many people are touched, helped, loved, and honored by The Hugs Project, and I can only hope and pray for further growth of the venture and it's family of volunteers.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked w/The Hugs Project for 3 yrs and believe that all the bigs things and all the little things that we do let's our troops know that we stand behind them, support them, believe in them and love them. The Hugs Project let's our troops know that we care. We really have no idea what they go through each and every day, but when we send them something whether a letter, hug, or food item, they know that somewhere back home someone believes in what they are fighting for.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have enjoyed sharing my crafts with our troops. I have helped with sending cards and care packages to our troops. I also make dashboard angels to add to my care packages. Sending condolences to the families of USA fallen Hero's.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am deployed in Afghanistan, and am the MWR leader for my Unit. I am writing you to tell you how wonderful your project is. There was so much help, support, and love from all of the people that support our unit from the HUGS project that there was enough to go around and more! We all would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Bev (the woman I corresponded with from HUGS)was always most helpful and always asked for requests, and no matter what we asked for, our Unit got. I had no idea that projects like this really existed with people in them that cared so much!!! We were all pretty bummed that we were spending Christmas here in Afghanistan, but the people of HUGS made it to where it wasn't so bad. They sent Christmas packages, hand-made Christmas stockings all filled with love and support that we all needed to keep us going through the Holiday Season. It's wonderful to know that someone supports us out there. Alot of times, some of the Soldiers feel like no one out there really truely appreciates what we are doing here. And it's people like you that keep our morale up! Thank you so much for everything you do! Keep it up!!! -SPC Katie Starkey

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The HUGS Project has been wonderful in sending our donated Girl Scout donated cookies to the troops. They gladly pick up the cases of cookies at our Council and ship them to our military overseas who are anxious to receive them. The HUGS Project and Girl Scouts have a wonderful relationship. God Bless Karen for all her efforts!

3

Donor

Rating: 5

It has been my privilege to participate in my small way sewing "HUGS" for The Hugs Project. It amazes me that what started as basically a "one woman show" (Karen Stark) now has over 2000 members nationwide and serves troops all over the world.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I've been involved with the Hugs Project since my son first deployed to Iraq. It enabled me to supply my son and his platoon with cooling ties to help with the heat of summer. It was probably as much as a help for me to be doing something for my son and his friends as it was for the Marines. The cooling ties were a big help.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with the hugs project for several years. They are a very hard working group of people who offer an enormous amount of love and support to our troops, their families and to those of us who try to do our part. I feel privileged to be a small part of this group.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We wandered into The Hugs Project one day, to have family pictures taken as a fundraiser for the group. We didn't leave for several hours after, as we got involved in repackaging items for the care packages. Karen and Ray don't believe in wasting space in the boxes, so many things are repackaged in ziploc bags. My 5-year old even got to be involved as a "Bunny basher". His first job was to smash hollow chocolate candies into pieces, so the soldiers could have chocolate, and no empty air was shipped overseas. I've packed boxes, filled and tied hand-crocheted neck pillows (or lumbar pillows), filled the tubes that make Hugs, ironed, etc. Karen and Ray don't let anyone feel like they're a stranger, even going so far as to "adopt" my toddler son and include him in the happenings of the group. On another trip, I turned empty RX bottles into "boo-boo kits" with minor first aid supplies that soldiers could carry easily.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in Iraq and received packages from the Hugs Project from all over the USA. It was very special to see how many people really do care about us over there. It made me feel good for days after opening a box.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My husband is retired Navy. We were looking for a way to help support our Military overseas and found this wonderful group. We have enjoyed gathering and making items to send to them. I make ornaments, wash cloths, soap socks. We write note cards to include with each item we send. My husband and I want each soldier to know they are being prayed for daily. It is our way of sending them a HUG. Thank you Karen for allowing us to be part of your charity.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This group has been an invaluable aide in my desire to show my support of our Troops in a tangible way. Rather than me trying to guess what I think they need, the group provides specific guidelines and patterns so that the items I send to the troops is effective for their needs. It also helps me to know that I am not alone in my feelings for these brave soldiers.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I had been looking for a way to support the troops since my husband, who had been in Viet Nam, came home. I drove to Tacoma, WA, to keep him from experiencing the jeers and taunts of the crowds at the air field. I googled and found "cool ties" and The Hugs Project came up. I knew that was the way!! I thank the Lord each day for what we can do to keep the troops safe from Heat Stroke and send our love to them in Care packages.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project puts their heart and soul into making care packages for soliders overseas at their own expense. When you do something from the heart, that is what counts. I myself have been involved with The Hugs Project for 3 years now and I consider it an honor to make cool ties and send them off to our troops.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the HUGS project for about 4 years. This fantastic organization has helped me with projects to support our troops and veterans. They have been a font of information regarding rules and regulations for care packages, given lists of needed items etc. They have sent my relatives many different care packages. They are a Godsend to our troops.

5 wildcatfan45

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to a Marine reunion in OK in 2006 and met Karen and Ray who started this project. I was so impressed with what they were doing, and the fact that it was 100% volunteer that I brought it to Western KY. I found in short order that our troops appreciated this effort a great deal. My son who served in Iraq told me "you know dad, I love the packages you send me, you know me so well you know just what to send. But, when I get a package from Ok, Tx, Fl, NY or some other place from people I don't even know, it means so much. Those are people who don't "have" to support me but they do. And it's special". I also found that there were SO MANY of our troops that were not getting ANYTHING from home. The more involved I got, the bigger our small group got. THANK YOU to this project for allowing us to be a part of a great group of people who's only objective is to show love and support to those who deserve it so much. Our troops give their all for us, the least we can do is show them we care. Thanks to The Hugs Project and it's affiliates all over the world, we are able to do that in a big way. Thanks to the donors and volunteers, it is a success. BUT, in order for it to continue, it takes YOU. Donors and volunteers are needed always. The more donors and volunteers, the more love and support that can be shown. No matter how large or how small, everyone can do something. Donate funds, donate items or donate your time... just do something to show your support.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i have been a member of the hugs projects for several years..the people are wonderful..we all come together like a family and make things happen for our troops.. I have submitted troops that needed care packages and have never been denied one sent to anyone and great reviews from the recipients. Love this organization and we all love and support our troops and each other.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became familiar with the organization “The HUGS Project” several years ago when I was looking for a way to support our troops. I sew for my “sanity” breaks and discovered I could not only sew for “me time” in the evenings but also help the troops at the same time. I then started recruiting other friends to help me sew and it started evolving in other ways as well. I felt I could still do so much more. I knew Karen and her crew sent care packages to the troops as well as letters of support and to help bring comfort and joy to someone's day. I asked Karen for a name of a soldier to write to about 6 months later and it has been increasing since that day. This past Christmas my family and friends had a care package drive and knit –a-thon. We collected 125 knitted or crocheted washcloths, 75 knitted wool hats, 300 hand made Christmas stockings and the stuff to fill them with, and over 300 handmade Christmas cards with blessing for our troops from a local 5th grade class. We packaged up and shipped off over 400 lbs of oatmeal, hot chocolate mix, snacks, candy and chocolate to the troops. If it wasn’t for The HUGS project we would not have been able to rally this much support and have a place to ship to our troops. I currently send care packages to a chaplain in the remote hills of Afghanistan with a group large of men. These guys have no PX or base and so anything that is sent is greatly appreciated. I am currently sending to my 3rd Chaplain at this same location and my current as well as the 2 previous men who have held this position always are grateful for anything they get. I also send letters and care packages to a wonderful young gal in Afghanistan and a Maj in Iraq. Over the past several years I have support numerous personnel serving in the middle east and as one comes home and get a new name of someone else to ship to. As I do not know of anyone serving in the military but feel I would like to brighten up someone’s day. Karen and the HUGS Project has introduced me to some pretty awesome people who support, sew for and send care packages to our troops. My husband and I are truly blessed that I stumbled across The HUGS Project website and feel we have been able to help in our small way. Anything we can do to help support Karen and The HUGS Project in making our troops feel a little piece of home always makes a great day. Mark & Bev DeLisle South Haven, MI

13

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dear Oklahoma City Hugs Project, I am Lt Col C. Todd Prejean, Commander of the 441st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron currently deployed in Afghanistan. I just wanted to take the time to write a quick thank you note for the care packages that we received from your organization. I am unable to put into words the gratitude that we feel as a result of your selfless and patriotic gesture of goodwill. This is especially true during the holiday season where all my troops are far away from their loved ones. As you might imagine that are many needs to be filled in Afghanistan. Because we fly re-supply helicopters and the unforgiving terrain of Afghanistan, we are the only link to food supplies for many people. I would also like to tell you that some of the things you guys sent are being given to the Afghan children. Few Americans can comprehend the hardships and poverty some of these children in remote areas face. I did not think you would mind considering there is nothing more American than helping less fortunate people out. I wish I could explain to you the impact you have had on my unit as well as many Afghan locals. It is people like you that make America great. God Bless and Merry Christmas!