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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”.

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

144 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 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

2 Carolyn S.1

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 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
2

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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1

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.

1

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!

1 Military Supporter

Client Served

Rating: 5

This group is top notch. They care about those who are in harm's way!!

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Love what The Hugs Project does for those who remain in harm's way. Now, they are also working with clinics that treat PTSD and traumatic brain injury with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Good stuff!!

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1

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.

4 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!!

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3

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!!!

3

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.

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project has faithfully supported our deployed troops for years and now they also aid those who have returned with brain injury/PTSD by helping them secure Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Fantastic group - best return for donations of money and time that I have seen!

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4 Julie259

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!

3 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
5

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!!

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.

4

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.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Hugs Project mails between 50-100 boxes each week full of lifesaving cooling ties (called Hugs) which can reduce body core temps by 7+ degrees, hygiene supplies, canned food and beef jerky. We've sent out 1.4 million hugs, 200,000 "kisses” (cooling helmet liners) and more than 462 TONS of care package items in the 8 years since The Hugs Project began. At Christmas we send out 5,000 Christmas boxes. In addition to the usual items, each box will contain some homemade goodies. We believe that every American serving in harm's way deserves the thanks of a grateful nation.

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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

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 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

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.

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.

Previous Stories
1

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