We are so excited to announce our new merchandise store on our website! During the Covid Pandemic, we were forced to consolidate and sell a limited selection of Free Mom Hugs gear. Sara and Katrina were busy every T-Shirt Tuesday fulfilling and delivering merchandise orders to the local Post Office and UPS. And while we were thrilled to be able to provide limited items during this time, we are ecstatic to offer an expanded selection just in time for Pride 2021!
The message and movement started with a plastic, handmade button. As you might know, founder Sara Cunningham pinned that button to her sundress when she attended her second OKC Pride. For her first Pride event, she went with intentions to pray for the folks in attendance. But she instantly fell in love with this “spirit filled” community and asked God’s forgiveness for being so mislead in her assumptions. From that moment on, she knew she wanted to hug everyone! There were so many stories of rejection that day but also stories of joy from receiving hugs. She knew in those moments that there was a need and she had the arms to meet those needs. One of her first encounters was from a young lesbian woman who stated that she hadn’t received a hug from her mom in 4 years. Sara’s response was:
“I’m a mom. I have arms. And I won’t let go until you do.”
That was the “spark” that led Sara and her friends to start Free Mom Hugs. Soon, buttons and banners followed and then a wheel cover for the Jeep. The official Free Mom Hugs logo was created and the power of the slogan on our T-shirts began to explode.
The T-shirts we wear is our billboard of unconditional love. When someone wears a FMH t-shirt, they are saying very proudly that they are safe and love the LGBTQ+ community. The wearer either has a child they love or they are a passionate ally willing to stand up for those who have been rejected. In return, for those in the LGBTQ+ family, when they see one of our shirts they instantly see a safe haven and open arms if they need a safe place to land.
At Pride events, our shirts identify us as a force. When people wear them to the grocery store or on an airplane, they make for great conversations. They bring joy and show LGBTQ+ persons that there are people who love them and celebrate them. We are proud of them and even just for a moment, they get the chance to feel the pride of a loving and supportive parent.
Our shirts have also been our main fundraiser for the organization over the years. We believe that we would not be a National non-profit organization without our first fundraisers which involved the sale of our t-shirts. Local businesses in our home state of Oklahoma sponsored our shirts for Pride events including the Free Mom Hugs tour. The movement began to spread from city to city and state to state.
Through the highs and lows of the past couple of years, our t-shirts have been the consistent way to spread Free Mom Hugs love. Even in 2020, when we lost our in person events and our ability to hug, we were able to create a virtual tour and Pride 2020 shirts…even if it was with in their Jammie bottoms zoom calls! We’ve heard stories of teachers wearing their shirts and nurses sporting them as well. Even a pandemic can’t stop the power of Free Mom Hugs t-shirts!
It’s perfect timing now as we come out of the pandemic and gradually get back into in person events to unveil our new merchandise collection. We are all about visibility, education, and conversation and our shirts bring about all three components of our mission.
Your purchase does so much more than just support the organization. You are helping make the world a kinder, safer place by spreading unconditional love. Visit freemomhugs.org to see all the great things we are doing and to get your own Free Mom Hugs gear to wear!