Hugs for Holidays
by Mary Anne Oglesby,
Executive Director of Veranda Ministries and PAC Certified Independent Trainer, Consultant, and Mentor
Hugs for the Holidays is an initiative involving hot pink ribbons to create awareness of persons in long-term care communities who are unable to spend the holidays with their loved ones. Families with loved ones in communities are asked to display the bright pink ribbons around a tree, mailbox, porch rail, or other outside visible location on their property. Businesses and churches are also encouraged to participate.
The state-wide project is spearheaded by members of the Tennessee Caregivers for Compromise, a caregiver advocacy group on Facebook that is working to help reduce the barriers of isolation between families and their loved ones in long-term care communities during this holiday season. Mary Anne Sutherly, administrator of the Tennessee Caregivers for Compromise Facebook group;
Traditionally, the holidays are special times when families spend time together, but unfortunately this year with the pandemic, isolation will continue to replace togetherness. COVID-19 has caused communities to severely limit, and in some instances, remove access of families to their loved ones.
When people see the bright pink ribbons, we want them to realize the ribbon represents family members who will be unable to see or hug their loved ones this holiday season.
The more attention that’s generated to this issue, the better our chances are to educate others about this crisis of isolation and to show our support as Tennessee citizens for these families. The only way change will happen is through education and working together, and we believe this statewide effort is a way to bring attention to the issue and open lines of communication in support of families.
Nashville’s Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge was lit in hot pink beginning at dusk on December 4th in recognition of Hugs for the Holidays.
We’re so grateful to the City of Nashville for helping us honor families who are separated from their loved ones this holiday season due to COVID-19.
Some families brought photos of their loved ones to the bridge-lighting event. We’re excited about the opportunity this provided in connecting a face to the statistics of those in isolation. The whole purpose of a bridge was to provide a connection, for families who can’t be together this holiday season, this is a way they can enjoy a spirit of togetherness.
The bridge lighting is just one of the ways the caregiver advocacy group is using to create awareness. Families in nearly 15 states as well as families in Canada have joined the Hugs for the Holidays effort.
The bright pink color was chosen to stand out among the typical holiday color décor. People are encouraged to purchase their hot pink ribbons at local florists, craft or discount stores, both online and at brick-and-mortar locations.