Ten women and counting are hoping they can support one another while taking care of other women in the community in unexpected ways. 

Circle Pines resident Samantha Byrd came up with the idea. “In working with the Byrd Family Foundation, I wanted to branch out a little bit,” she explained. “I thought specifically about women, coming from all walks of life, whether they are sisters, daughters, mothers with small children or empty nesters, no matter what we could all use some support.” 

Byrd established HUGS, which stands for Help, Uplift, Give, Sisterhood in May. The group held its first meeting Thursday, June 6, and plans to meet again Aug. 8. She wanted to make sure HUGS was open to women of all ages, phases of life and religious affiliations, as many of the existing groups are specific to a religious affiliation or age. 

“One thing I have noticed now that my kids are grown and no longer in sports, 

is you lose those connections with folks,” Byrd said. “This is a way to keep those women bonds connected. I want to make this open to all women to network and support each other and while doing so, looking for ways that we can give back to other women in the community.” 

At the first meeting the group discussed some possible ways it could give back. Ideas included collection of diapers, newborn kits, feminine hygiene products, adopting a family over the holidays and connecting with teachers/school counselors to help female students. Other topics could include domestic violence, childcare, transportation and affordable housing. 

Although the meetings are open to men, HUGS’ focus will be specifically to help women. Women who attended the first meeting said they did so because they were looking for ways to give back, meet new people, network and build relationships with other women. 

For its first project, the group collectively decided to collect feminine hygiene products, diapers, wipes and urinary incontinence pads by Aug. 8. 

For more information about HUGS, or to stay up-to-date on its work, follow the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/HUGS4UMN/ or email hugsgroupmn@gmail.com.

 

Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 615-407-1227 or at quadnews@presspubs.com. 

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