Contributed by Sandra Leaver
Signs of glory and patriotism reflected as The Hugs Project recently launched the inaugural 5k and 10k Blazing Sun Freedom Run sponsored by Chesapeake Energy on the morning of Saturday, July 9.
Held at the Stars and Stripes Park in Oklahoma City, there was nothing short of excitement as kids signed up to run with a “Hero” dressed in full uniform for a special 1k portion of the event.
Many vendors donated services or items for the cause including a snow cone machine and moon bounce. Over 500 participants, 50 kids and even more spectators came to show support.
Karen and Ray Stark began the mission in June of 2004 and each week send out between 60 to100 care packages from headquarters located in the Crossroads Mall.
The Starks recognized the need to keep American troops and allies cool during the summer and warm in the winter. They began making the cool ties (affectionately named “hug’s” since they go around the neck) to send to those serving in the Middle East. Other handmade and needed items are placed in the boxes as well.
All branches of the military are supported and the goal of the project is to make certain every service member feels loved and respected. Each package that is dispatched contains a name on it and Karen states, “We know that those who receive mail always share with those who don’t but how nice it is to receive a care package with their name on it. We can do this for them.”
This Christmas the operation is dedicated to providing 4,000 to 5,000 packages to those serving in the Middle East. Donated items and funding are appreciated and tax deductible.
The Hugs Project is a 501(C) 3 and is located in the Crossroads Mall in Oklahoma City. For more information about the operation and how to help visit, www.thehugsproject.com. Donations may also be sent to:
The Hugs Project, 7000 Crossroads Blvd. #1048, Okla. City, OK 73149
The event’s mission is to raise public awareness of the support and funding needed for the non-profit to continue sending care packages over to troops serving in the Middle East.