SOMETIMES all you need is a hug.
And residents at Meadowvale retirement village in Pakenham dished out plenty on World Hugs Day last week in support of a grassroots project educating kids in the slums of Columbia.
The Hugs for Change movement on Wednesday 21 January generated a dollar from each hug shared, which raised more than $171 for the group Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas.
Some residents spotted sharing the love were sisters Josie Mill and Geraldine Brett while Cardinia Shire Central Ward councillor Kate Lempriere did her bit for charity by wrapping her arms around Rosemary Furse and Pamela Bucanan.
Ms Brett said the fundraising effort wasn’t hard given the love and friendship everyone has for each other at the village.
“We’ve always been a close knit group here at the village so we thought that it would be great to support Hugs for Change on World Hugs Day. A hug is a great mark of friendship and very easy to do,” she said.
Hugs are said to improve health, psychologist Dr Jan Astrom said, citing research benefits including a lowered risk of heart disease, boosts to immune function as well as helping reduce stress and depression.
Village manager Janet Fisher said loneliness and isolation could be an issue among the older community and this was a reason why people moved to Meadowvale.
“The residents here are quite community minded, and many immerse themselves in the local community. The Men’s Shed is very active, and there are many activities and social groups for the residents here to join,” she said.
Founder of Hugs for Change Nat Dewiyani said the residents’ individual efforts help more than one.
“We are grateful for the support of our friends at Meadowvale Retirement Village. Their support raises awareness about the importance of hugging, while their donations will help them make the change they want to see in the world,” she said.
“Random acts of kindness are easy to do and they don’t cost a thing.”
Residents, who also received a donation by Meadowvale, have opened the hug initiative to the wider community until Valentine’s Day next month.
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