Texas Church Offers “Free Mom Hugs” To Those Who Need Them

They say that the best things in life are free—ain’t that the truth? Air is free. Friendship is free. And sometimes? Hugs are free.

Let’s talk about hugs for a second. They’re a simple gesture between two people—anyone with arms and a body can give a hug. Hugs can weirdly make you feel better. There’s even science behind it.

A study completed by researchers at the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE, and proved that hugging helped people feel better after some kind of conflict or negative event they might’ve encountered that day.

The study went on to point out that hugs don’t always have to come from people you’re in a relationship with to get the benefits—you reap them no matter who you’re wrapping your arms around.

Basically, hugging can never be harmful, even when it’s from a total stranger. Members of one Texas Church knew this and decided to attend the Austin Pride parade with a free offer: Hugs.

And not just any kind of hugs. They offered “mom hugs” and “dad hugs” to all the people in attendance of the LGBTQ community—especially those who really needed a hug, and especially those who needed a hug from a mother or father.

Unfortunately, many people of the LGBTQ community don’t have the best relationships with their parents, and these members thought they could help out in this sweet way. And it couldn’t have been a more beautiful gesture.

Mom and blogger named Jen Hatmaker posted some photos of the hugs on her Instagram, explaining how they gave out the hugs “like it was paying our jobs,” adding “And when I say hugs, I mean THE KIND A MAMA GIVES HER BELOVED KID.”

There wasn’t a person who could’ve escaped a hug at the parade. “Our arms were never empty,” Jennifer wrote in her post. “We ‘happy hugged’ a ton of folks, but dozens of times, I’d spot someone in the parade look our way, squint at our shirts and posters, and RACE into our arms.”

As they gave the biggest, most lovable hugs, they were floored by the heartbreaking responses from some of the people who needed them most, which included: “I miss this,” “My mom doesn’t love me anymore,” “My Dad hasn’t spoken to me in three years,” and “Please just one more hug.”

Besides simply giving a hug, the huggers also told the person receiving the hug some important, yet tear-jerking sentiments. “We told them over and over that they were impossibly loved and needed and precious,” Jennifer wrote. “And we hugged until our arms fell off. This is what we are doing here, what we are here for.”

What a beautiful act of kindness—one that literally anyone can do if they just take the time. Hugs are free—and if this small, free gesture can please so many people, it’s mind boggling that we don’t do this more often—especially for the people who really need it most. Kuddos to the members of this church who thought of this idea!

What do you think of how this church went about these hugs? Would you ever do something like this?