'Free Mom Hugs' group virtually supports Triangle LGBTQ+ community during COVID-19 pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Normally, members of the Free Mom Hugs group would spend much of June hugging people at Pride events all over North Carolina.

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pride events are cancelled--and there's no hugging. However, the moms are still supporting the LGBTQ+ community with virtual hugs and mental health resources.

"We're kind of getting creative in the sense that now it's maybe a video chat or a text message," said Janene Brown, of Raleigh. "'Hey, how are you doing? How's it going? Do you need anything?' Checking on them on a smaller, individual level."

Brown, Greenville resident Diana Boseman, and Charlotte resident Tracy Edmondson are part of the Free Mom Hugs group in North Carolina. They all have children who identify as LGBTQ+, which is one reason they want others to feel affirmation and love.

"We've had some people come back and tell us it changed their life, that they hadn't had a hug from their mom in four to five years," Brown said.

SEE MORE: Equality NC uses Pride month to support Black Lives Matter movement

Raleigh resident Christopher Domingo has felt the moms' support firsthand.

"With my personal mom being about two hours away and me being a veteran that suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, anytime that I've gone into the hospital with bouts of anxiety or panic attacks, Free Mom Hugs was there immediately," Domingo said. "Came to the hospital to see me, called me, checked up on me."

The moms can't wait to get back to hugging.

"We see you and we are here to support you and when we're allowed to hug again, we are going to be there for you in that more physical, personal way," Edmondson said.

Until then, Boseman said anyone who needs a mom to talk to can find them on Facebook.

Free Mom Hugs is a national non-profit organization.
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