Hugs Project Incorporated
4449 NW 50th St.
Oklahoma City OK 73112
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Organization Does Business As (DBA) Name(s)
Organization DBA
The Hugs Project
Hugs Project
The Hugs Project Inc.
Mission Statement
Our founding mission was and is to give a "HUG" (handmade item of warmth or cooling depending on season) to every American serving in the Middle East. We want every deployed Troop to know we support their mission to protect our freedoms & to provide freedom to the people of the Middle East.
 
As this war has continued for over 16 years, we hear from more and more Troops that they are now getting less and less support. They express concerns that "America has forgotten us." We tell them, "We're here for you as long as you're there for us."
 
Many of our members remember the damage done to Troops during the Vietnam era when our Military felt their country turned on them. We are determined this will NOT happen to this generation of brave, young American Military members!
 
Furthermore, many of our returning Troops and Veterans are experiencing great difficulty adjusting to life back home. They have suffered injuries to the brain which affect their ability to sleep, to focus on task, and to relate appropriately to others. Many cannot keep a job or a marriage together. In an effort to cope, some turn to alcohol or drugs-whether prescribed or not. Some have headaches, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In fact at least 22 per day actually die by their own hand across our nation. In Oklahoma we lose one Military member to suicide - Active Duty or Veteran - every 55 hours.
 
Research has shown that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can heal Traumatic Brain Injuries, so our second mission is to fund HBOT for as many of our Oklahoma Troops and Veterans as we can raise funds to do. We have expanded that sponsorship to include First Responders who have suffered a TBI. They, too, protect us and we want to show our appreciation. The least we can do for both our Military and our First Responders is to assist them in returning to a productive and satisfying life. They have given so much for us; we are honored to give back to them.
Happy to receive support!!!
Contact Information
Contact Name Karen Stark
Contact email TheHugsProject_OKC@cox.net
Address 4449 NW 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Phone (405) 651-8359
County Oklahoma County
Alternate Phone 405 850-7887
How to Give
Other ways to donate, support or volunteer
We welcome volunteers to visit us any W 10-4 and some Th 10-3 but 1st call Karen-651-8359. We write letters, break down product, sign cards, sew cooling ties, pack care packages, make Christmas ornaments & stockings (can also do at home & bring in) and make survival bracelets. You can bring in care package items, fabric or yarn.
 
We hold events to raise awareness that we still have Troops in harm's way and that we also have Troops returning with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) who have adjustment difficulties. If you can donate table space, we can explain what we do to benefit Troops, Veterans, & First Responders. We can display a care package and gather names and addresses of deployed Troops to send them boxes of supplies. We explain our Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) sponsorship program that helps restore quality of life to Troops, Veterans, & First Responders suffering from TBI.
 
We always need money. Monthly postage to ship care packages is about $1500-$2000. Postage costs for our special Christmas ship out is $11,000-14,000. The approximate cost for a full round of HBOT sessions for one person is about $7000. You can mail a check to us or you may personally deliver it so that we can thank you face to face.
 
We love our Military and First Responders, and we respect them for protecting us. If you have a loved one currently deployed “in harm’s way” whom you would like to receive a care package, please send their info including birth date (month and day), living conditions, special requests and approximate mail cut off date. We want each deployed Troop or American civilian to know we support their mission to protect our freedoms and to provide freedom to the people of the Middle East.
 
If you know a Military man or woman or First Responder who has experienced trauma and is struggling to adjust, tell them to contact us to discuss HBOT. We want them to know Americans/Oklahomans care. This is our way of saying "Thank you, we appreciate you for the difficult job you do."
Financial Summary
 
 
Projected Revenue $572,000.00
Projected Expenses $572,000.00
History and Background
Former Names
NameYear
n/a
Supported Organization The Hugs Project
Year Founded 2004
IRS Ruling Year 2005
State Registration Expiration Oct 2020
Statements
Mission
Our founding mission was and is to give a "HUG" (handmade item of warmth or cooling depending on season) to every American serving in the Middle East. We want every deployed Troop to know we support their mission to protect our freedoms & to provide freedom to the people of the Middle East.
 
As this war has continued for over 16 years, we hear from more and more Troops that they are now getting less and less support. They express concerns that "America has forgotten us." We tell them, "We're here for you as long as you're there for us."
 
Many of our members remember the damage done to Troops during the Vietnam era when our Military felt their country turned on them. We are determined this will NOT happen to this generation of brave, young American Military members!
 
Furthermore, many of our returning Troops and Veterans are experiencing great difficulty adjusting to life back home. They have suffered injuries to the brain which affect their ability to sleep, to focus on task, and to relate appropriately to others. Many cannot keep a job or a marriage together. In an effort to cope, some turn to alcohol or drugs-whether prescribed or not. Some have headaches, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In fact at least 22 per day actually die by their own hand across our nation. In Oklahoma we lose one Military member to suicide - Active Duty or Veteran - every 55 hours.
 
Research has shown that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can heal Traumatic Brain Injuries, so our second mission is to fund HBOT for as many of our Oklahoma Troops and Veterans as we can raise funds to do. We have expanded that sponsorship to include First Responders who have suffered a TBI. They, too, protect us and we want to show our appreciation. The least we can do for both our Military and our First Responders is to assist them in returning to a productive and satisfying life. They have given so much for us; we are honored to give back to them.
Background
The Hugs Project was founded in June 2004 by Ray and Karen Stark of Edmond, Oklahoma who wanted to improve the quality of life for a few of America's Marines, including Karen's chiropractor's son then in Iraq. What started as letter writing and sending a few care packages led to identifying a need for cooling ties and evolved into The Hugs Project, Inc. in March 2005.
 
From June 2004 through December 2018, we have shipped over 2500 TONS of items to our troops including 5,503,233 "Hugs" (cooling ties) and 748,920 "Kisses" (helmet coolers). Our Care Packages include many additional items such as handmade neck pillows, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, foot powder, women’s personal items, socks, beef jerky, packaged tuna, dried fruit, candy, hot chocolate, etc. We also send handmade children’s hats, stuffed bears, and school bags with school supplies for the troops to share with the children they meet.
 
During the cold months, we send hand knitted and crocheted items such as hats, fingerless gloves, neck warmers, and sleep boots in addition to the basics. Our Christmas boxes are the most spectacular as they include special items including individually Christmas wrapped LED flashlights, computer flash drives, disposable cameras, mini binoculars, homemade cookies and candies, handcrafted board games, & handmade Christmas stockings stuffed with goodies.
 
In 2017 we expanded our mission to include funding Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for our returning Troops and Veterans who suffered Traumatic Brain Injury and are unable to adjust to life back home because of sleep disturbances, inability to focus, memory issues, problems in relating to others, and depression which often leads to suicide. Standard methods of treating these conditions generally include the use of prescription drugs to mask the symptoms. These drugs do not heal the brain, and many of them have as one of their many side effects suicidal ideation.
 
HBOT is an effective drug-free treatment which has been used for over 80 years for brain injuries. TBI is an off-label condition which means that, although it is approved as a treatment, insurance will not cover the costs. The costs range from about $7000 at outpatient clinics to $80,000+ through hospitals.
 
The Hugs Project contracts with certified HBOT clinics to sponsor the entire treatment protocol as well as pre and post brain scans for approved Oklahoma Troops or Veterans. We have extended this service to include Oklahoma 1st Responders.
Impact
In 2018, we sent 832 Regular Weekly Care Packages and 615 Christmas Care Packages comprising over 12.5 Tons of care package items. In addition to food and hygiene items, these included a total of 5,030 “Hugs” cooling ties, 845 “Kisses” cooling helmet liners, 317 handmade water coolers (made like the cooling ties but hold 3 bottles of drinking water to make it more palatable in 120 degree temperatures!), 965 knitted children's hats, 9,739 handmade bears, (the Troops pass hats and bears out to the little ones over there to make friends), 95 blankets, 43 knitted fingerless gloves, 90 helmet liners, 1,447 neck pillows, 32 knitted neck warmers, 1,983 survival bracelets, 46 sand scarves, 164 knitted sleep boots, 85 shower bags, 93 knitted soap holders, 3,232 handmade Christmas stockings and 1,500 LED flashlights. Most of the care packages were sent to Afghanistan with the remaining boxes going to places such as Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Jordan; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Uzbekistan; South Korea; Djibouti, Africa; Honduras; Columbia; and Okinawa, Japan.
 
Our goal at Hugs for the current year is to increase the number of weekly packages by at least 10% and to ship 700 special Christmas packages in December 2019.
 
In the Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy program over the past year, we have sponsored nine Military Veterans and First Responders. Results have been impressive. Almost all have experienced improvement in their sleep, several have been able to return to work, relationships have been restored, headaches have diminished. The pre and post brain scans (QEEGs) have shown significant improvements.
 
For the current year our goal is to secure funding for at least 25 additional clients, ideally 50 more of Oklahoma's finest who need our help and support.
Needs
We can always use donations of money, care package items and your time! None of our donated monies ever go to pay salaries. No one involved in the Hugs Project has ever been paid, not even our Executive Director or key people! Everything we do is a "labor of love" to help our troops.
 
The approximate cost for one Care Package is $60 which includes contents and postage. Much of the contents are donated items, but money for the postage cost of about $16-$17 per box is always needed. Weekly Care Package postage runs about $1500-$2000, and our special Christmas Care Package postage is about $11,000-$14,000.
 
The approximate cost of HBOT treatments (80 treatments is the standard protocol), QEEG brain scans, and evaluations for one Military person or First Responder is $7000.
 
For a list of needed items, please check out: http://www.thehugsproject.com/care-package-items
 
Volunteers can come for an hour or stay all day. Just come to: 4449 NW 50th St. in Oklahoma City between 10-4 any Wednesday or 10-3 some Thursdays. If you would like to call ahead with questions - Karen 405-651-8359
CEO/Executive Director Statement We are supporting some of America's finest men and women....the US Military and Oklahoma's First Responders. We welcome you to join us in our efforts.
Board Chair Statement For more than 15 years, our dedicated team of volunteers have pitched in to make sure Americans serving in dangerous areas feel the love and respect most Americans feel for them. We could not have done this without the support of our many donors and corporate sponsors. To learn more about The Hugs Project, to organize a company work day or make a donation, please contact us today. Thank you sincerely.
Area Served
Area Served
Geographic Area Served
International
Oklahoma - Statewide
We help American Troops who serve in harm's way. We send care packages with needed supplies, including cooling ties which reduce body core temps and care packages. We also send school supplies to be given to the locals and children in the Middle East.
 
We are currently accepting new Oklahoma Veterans and First Responders who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) into our Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy funding program.
Service Categories
Secondary Organizational Category Health Care/Health Support
Programs
Description In Oklahoma City, we come together two or three times per week year around for "group hugs." This is where we meet and sew head and neck coolers (affectionately nicknamed because we give our Troops a "hug" around their neck and a "kiss" on their head). Hugs lower body core temperatures by 7 degrees or more and save our Military from heat stroke related deaths. Others around the nation do the project individually or sometimes in groups. The Hugs Project is in every state of our nation as well as several foreign countries.
Strategy
Population Served Other Named Groups General/Unspecified US& International
Program Short-term SuccessHelpDescription of short-term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. Each week, we send 20-40 requested care packages to those who remain in harm's way. We send 600+ boxes at Christmastime.
Program Long-term SuccessHelpDescription of the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future or represent an ideal state. Since we began in June 2004, we've sent over 5 million cooling ties to the troops in the Middle East.
Program Success MonitoringHelpDescription of the tools used to measure or track program impact.
We don't try to monitor our success. We used to keep track of how many pounds of supplies we'd send out per year. But, we stopped doing that about year 7. It took too much time and effort from our mission.
We just keep sending support until they can all come home. It's not really about success or thanks. We just love and respect them, that's all.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpSpecific examples of changes in behaviors or testimonies of changes that demonstrate program success.
The Hugs Project has been the recipient of 2 Presidential awards including a Presidential Award for Service from George W. Bush. For a complete list of awards and honors, please go to: http://www.thehugsproject.com/awards
 
No award means as much as when a young, recently returned Military man or woman comes by our table at an event where we're working just to thank us for the packages they received. They often times tell us a story or mention the specific thing they found in their box that they needed or appreciated the most.
 
We hear things like, "You're on every mission with us. You're the socks on our feet, the beef jerky in our pockets. You're the bandaid on my foot that cushions my blister. We can't do it without you." Don't know if all that's true but it sure is nice to hear.
 
Another favorite moment is when they come bringing their families in tow because they want the kids to meet "the people who helped daddy".
 
Man, we really love our job!!!
Description We are currently funding an effective and life changing HyperBaric Oxygen Therapy program for Oklahoma Military Veterans and First Responders who suffer from traumatic brain injury. At this time, we have completed funding for 3 who successfully completed treatments in Jenks, OK and we currently sponsoring 9 others in the Oklahoma City area.
Strategy
Population Served Other Named Groups General/Unspecified US
Program Short-term SuccessHelpDescription of short-term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program.
Drugs too often have one or more deadly side effects including "suicidal ideation." We have a Military suicide epidemic in this nation.
 
One young combat Troop began having severe migraines and seizures which occurred shortly after his head injury in the Middle East. He was prescribed different medicines each and every time he went to the VA for care.
 
Now, after just 17 hours of oxygen therapy in an HBOT chamber, he's relatively seizure free and hopeful. He's off many of his prescribed medications and believes he may have found something to heal rather than just mask the symptoms.
Program Long-term SuccessHelpDescription of the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future or represent an ideal state.
Here's just one of the stories - - - about a young father who completed our program 2 years ago.
 
He was the coach of his daughter's soccer team before he deployed. While overseas in Iraq, his group was exposed to numerous blast waves from IED's and mortars. He also received a concussion when an engine block swung around and hit him on the side of the head. Robert was a mechanic in the Air Force.
 
Once home, he began to struggle with pain, anxiety and depression. He could no longer even sit to watch his 8 year old daughter's games and other events because the "crowds" freaked him out.
 
Now, after completing a full series of 80 hours of treatment, Robert can work on his wife's car again without going to bed for days because of fibromyalgia pain. He is coaching his daughter's soccer team again.
 
Life has changed for the better for Robert in so many ways.
Program Success MonitoringHelpDescription of the tools used to measure or track program impact.
No better success monitor of our care package program than the numerous cards and letters we receive back from Troops "over there." You can view many of those on our website.
 
Success monitor for our HBOT programs is a series of QEEG's done before, middle way and after completion of our program. We also rely on 1st hand accounts from our sponsored patients recounting their experiences before and after HBOT. You can learn more about Quantitative Electroencephalography at: www.qeegsupport.com/what-is-qeeg-or-brain-mapping
Examples of Program SuccessHelpSpecific examples of changes in behaviors or testimonies of changes that demonstrate program success.
A 66 year old grandmother of 4 was unable to continue as Executive Director of a Military support group. She was having severe memory issues, could no longer give speeches and was generally unable to fulfill her objectives to motivate volunteers supporting our Military.
 
She had sustained a head injury when crowded off the Interstate. She hit a concrete barrier and the airbag didn't deploy. Hospital said, "Go home, feel better. We really don't do anything for concussion. It will get better."
 
A year and a half later, she thought she had early dementia which runs in her family. Turns out, it was "just" a brain injury and she underwent 80 hours of HBOT.
 
If you want to know more regarding what I went through or how HBOT improved MY quality of life....please just ask. I'm always happy to talk about my experience.
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Karen Stark
Start Date June 2004
Email TheHugsProject@cox.net
Experience Karen is committed to improving the lives of American service members around the world. When asked if she has a loved one serving in harm's way, her reply is, "They're all over there for me."
Senior Staff
NameTitle
Ray StarkVolunteer/Husband
Staff
Number of Full-time Staff 0
Number of Part-time Staff 0
Number of Contract Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 4000
Staff Retention Rate 100
Does CEO/Executive Director have formal evaluations? N/A
Management reports to board? Yes
Organizational Plans
Fundraising Plan No
Policy against commission-based compensation for fundraising consultant No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Management Succession Plan No
Organization Policies and Procedures No
Awards
Awards
Award/RecognitionOrganizationYear
Woman of WorthL'Oreal Paris2007
President’s Volunteer Service AwardPresident George W. Bush2008
Woman Making a DifferenceIntegris Health2010
Point of LightPoints of Light Institute2011
National Community Hero in ActionIntegris Health2011
Ladies in the NewsOklahoma Hospitality Club2012
Honorary National PresidentSilver Wings2014
Board Chair
Name Ray Stark
Company Affiliation No affiliation
Term Jan 2016 to Jan 2020
Email drcoffee@cox.net
Board of Directors
List Current as of Jan 23, 2019
Board of Directors List
NameAffiliationStatus
Julie CitroVoting
Susan CorbeilPark University, Tinker AFBVoting
Martha DuerksenVolunteerVoting
Richard & Erin (vote as one) McCauleyVoting
Karen StarkVolunteerVoting
Ray Stark.VolunteerVoting
Carolyn StevensonVoting
Don & Jeanette (vote as one) WalkupCommunity VolunteersVoting
Sherri WoodhamRetired, VolunteerVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
Other Americans
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 7
Current Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year July 01, 2019-June 30, 2020
Current Year Budgeted Total Income $572,000
Current Year Budgeted Total Expenses $572,000
IRS Letter of Determination
Prior Three Years' Financial History
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201820172016
Contributions$89,881$108,335$106,175
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
------
Government Contributions$0$0$0
Federal------
State------
Local------
Unspecified------
Individual Contributions------
------
------
Investment Income, Net of Losses$341$1,115$182
Unrealized Gain/Loss------
Membership Dues------
Special Events------
Revenue In-Kind------
Other------
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201820172016
Program Expense$92,954$53,283$98,226
Administration Expense$1,297$19,632--
Fundraising Expense------
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.961.501.08
Program Expense/Total Expenses99%73%100%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%0%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201820172016
Total Assets$290,852$294,881$258,346
Current Assets$290,852$294,881$258,346
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$290,852$294,881$258,346
Solvency
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities------
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201820172016
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Funding Sources
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201820172016
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions $89,881Contributions $108,335Contributions $106,175
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountInvestment Income $341Investment Income $1,115Investment Income $182
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Endowment? No
Credit Line? No
Reserve Fund? Yes
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Comments on Financials
Foundation Staff Comments
All prior year financial information is from the IRS Form 990s.
 
Contributions may include foundations and corporations when the breakout was not available.
 
The financial information presented is obtained from the following sources: IRS Form 990, independent audit reports, financial statements – board approved when available, and supplemental information from the organization. We do not warrant or guarantee the timeliness, errors or inaccuracies. With respect to information regarding financial performance, nothing on this website should be interpreted as a statement or interpretation by OCCF staff.
 
Organizations with a GiveSmartOKC profile are responsible for updating information annually within 45 days following the end of their fiscal year.
Address 4449 NW 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73112
Primary Phone 405 651-8359
CEO/Executive Director Karen Stark
Board Chair Ray Stark
Board Chair Company Affiliation No affiliation