Brent and Phelecia Hatch, of the Bridal Gate Ward, Gilbert Highland Stake, are hug aficionados. They have made it their business to hand out hugs and to encourage others to do the same. Their mechanism is a small, plastic card, called the Hug Card, and they say the results are immeasurable.
It all started when two brothers—Brent and Barlow Hatch—living in California, one running a janitorial business, the other driving a taxi for a living—hit upon the idea of creating a credit-card size Hug Card. On the front is a picture of hugging bears along with a heat-sensitive sticker that will change color when an individual puts their thumb on the sticker for a few seconds.
“Then there’s a key that says, ‘If it turns blue, you need three hugs; green, you need two; and so forth. It’s just a gimmick, but this little card gives people permission to hug,” Brent says.
And, according to the response, a hug or two is what many people need.
“Barlow wrote a book called The Hug Book, and we put a Hug Card on the front of each book.”
They quickly saw it was the card, more than the book that drew people in.
“We dropped the book and found 30 or 40 stores where we placed the Hug Cards. We sold out within two weeks,” Brent says.
Within two months, the brothers had quit their jobs and they, along with 10 other employees, were filling orders for Hug Cards fulltime. In seven years, they had sold 3.5 million cards.
“We also received more than 5,000 letters. We received letter after letter, telling us about people’s experiences with the Hug Card. We learned hugs can be healing—even lifesaving,” Brent says.
They also learned that a lot of people are afraid of human contact, or simply haven’t had enough to feel comfortable.
“Today, with Facebook and all the ways people think they are connecting online, we see less and less human touch than ever before,” Brent says.
He says they had retired the Hug Card, but an incident in their own family drove the point home that hugs could be the answer to many of the problems students face in school today.
The Hatches’ son, McKay, started the No Cussing Club at his school. His goal was to encourage other students to join him in pledging to clean up their language and avoid profanity.
As documented now in a popular Mormonad, McKay’s club made him the brunt of bullying.
“The bullying he went through because he stood up for something right was unbelievable. It brought awareness to our family of just how destructive bullying can be, and we started using the Hug Card to educate people and remind them how they should treat each other,” Brent says.
Brent and Phelecia bought out Barlow’s share in the Hug Card and have committed to again promote it and to advance awareness of the benefits of hugging.
“Yes, it is a gimmick, but if it works to repair relationships and to get people to show love to one another, it’s well worth it,” Brent says.
In addition to making the Hug Card available for purchase online, in quantities or individually, the Hatches present at firesides, Relief Society meetings and community workshops, where they teach parents about the Hug Card and nine other effective parenting tools.
“We are losing our kids at an astounding rate. We need to get back to the basics,” Brent says. “We all need more hugs.”
To order the Hug Card, visit www.TheHugCard.com or to inquire about scheduling the Hatches for an event, call 626-390-0777.