More than 65,000 people from around the world joined in a campaign for kindness with hugs and set a record for most simultaneous hugs worldwide.
Hugs reached every corner of the globe as people were joined in the hugging action from six-time world wrestling champion Chris Jericho, and the Chicago Cubs, to legendary golfer Annika Sorenstam and Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence. A number of Broadway stars participated too, including the cast from Come From Away, Waitress, School of Rock and Red Roses, Green Gold.
The Big Hug was started by a small group of passionate kids from Florida who felt the world needed a big hug after all the horrific disasters and tragedies that filled 2017. In September, after Hurricane Irma tore through their state, the kids officially kicked off The Big Hug campaign. Since then, they have travelled to New York to hug the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, the cast of the Today Show and several Broadway musicals, as well as New York’s finest.
The Florida 1st through 6th graders aren’t just huggers, they’re doers. Their mission is to help people around the globe after a tragic event unfolds. They have fed thousands of people after hurricanes; gathered and distributed supplies after fires and tornadoes; cleaned up homes after floods; delivered new furniture to a woman who flooded twice after Hurricane Katrina; wrote messages of love and support worldwide after tsunamis, earthquakes, shootings, and bombings; helped with human waste composting in Nicaragua; and even delivered Christmas to an entire South Carolina town after it was destroyed in a flood.
On Sunday, January 21, 2018 (National Hug Day), the kids set the record for the largest hug in the United States with more than one thousand people hugging at Tropicana Field, while setting a record for the most people hugging simultaneously in the world. The kindness campaign has grown into a global event with hugs taking place in countries such as Israel, Guatemala, Brazil, Nicaragua, the United Kingdom and beyond.