Founded in 2009 by Arié Moyal, HugTrain's mission is to offer a different perspective on the world by distributing and facilitating the exchange of hugs and mental health support by using technology to connect with people online and offline. This year, the fifth annual HugTour will crisscross North America from November 24, 2013 to January 5, 2014 raising spirits, awareness and funds for mental health one hug at a time!

About HugTrain

Mission

To offer a different perspective on the world by distributing and facilitating the exchange of hugs and mental health support by using technology to connect with people online and offline.

The Holidays
Seasonal and situational depression is more common during the Holiday Season, when many people continue working, are unable to travel to reconnect with family and friends, have no family or friends, have no one to connect with or support them or have bad relations with family.

HugTrain’s purpose is to spread happiness and good feelings during the holiday season and make people feel that they matter. The train ride also provides a forum for creating discussions and awareness about mental health.

The HugTrain concept is the brainchild of Arié Moyal. HugTrainUSA 2013-14, the fifth annual event, will be stopping in cities across the USA and, for the first time ever, Canada, including: Montreal, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, Winnipeg, Charlotte, New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Washington DC, Salt Lake City, Birmingham and more!

What YOU Can Do
The specific goals for HugTrainUSA 2011 are twofold:

  • Grow the HugTrain community to include as many people as possible- on as many social media channels as possible, who will help promote good mental health and/or will be coming to one of the train stops to receive a hug.
  • Help us raise funds to cover our costs for this year’s trip! Donate here!
  • Help us find in kind donations of travel tickets and points, food, accommodations and rides
  • Spread the word about the trip!

Hugs Needed
We often celebrate and laud social media as a valuable tool that can help create relationships between people and drive positive cultural changes. But we’re also starting to see that life on social media (perhaps more so on Twitter) can be isolating and lonely because of our perceived responsibility as professionals, to maintain a consistent positive message.

As much as social media is a tool to mobilize populations of people, it cannot replace the benefits and daily need we all have for human touch. NOTHING CAN REPLACE A HUG! It’s not enough to reach out to someone with a tweet or by tagging them in a photo; face to face human interaction is still the best way to foster lasting relationships.

Take a look at these two posts- they are the reason why Arie hops on a train and for two weeks goes around giving people hugs. It’s that simple.

Change the world with a touch on a shoulder