Dozens of parents from all over the map came to OSU on Thursday to show love to the many students who are doing their best to make it through school during a pandemic. .
Hugs from Home is an outreach group based in Stillwater, founded by Dena Lewis, mother of two OSU students. She started the group last semester, when other parents began to post on FaceBook about how lonely and isolated their children felt at college during the pandemic.
“It was just heartbreaking, as a mom, to read that,” Lewis explained, and that led her to post on FaceBook inviting other parents to join her in supporting students on campus. Several other parents said they would attend.
Their first event was held in October. It was only semi-organized, said Lewis. They had snacks and Chick-fil-A sandwiches set out, and of course, parents were there offering hugs. Lewis said that about 200 students came to the event, and they lined up to get a hug before getting any food.
“Whenever I hug these kids, even today, you can just feel them melt,” said Lewis.
One mother, Goldie Kakacek, came all the way from San Diego to participate in this event. “It’s a great thing because my daughter doesn’t get to come home every weekend,” said Kakacek. She was so moved by the organization that she decided to fly all the way to Stillwater this week to join Hugs from Home. Meeting all the different students and parents has been Kakacek’s favorite part about the event.
Hugs from Home has had three events so far, each one bringing in more parents than the last. This most recent event had a tropical theme, complete with mocktails with little umbrellas. The event was supposed to be held outside, but the weather forced them to move inside. However, that didn’t stop these parents from doing their very best to share their kindness with the students of OSU.