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A “touchless hug” for Valentine’s Day

Team of volunteers brings joy to shut-ins
A “touchless hug” for Valentine’s Day
Michael Hudson delivers roses on Valentine’s day 2021.Photo by Diane Cupples

By Diane Cupples and Dave Crockett

On Valentine’s Day 2019, Diane Cupples thought it was better to focus on those less fortunate than herself. The day that Cupid runs amok can be a lonely time for people who are without a partner. It can be an even lonelier time when people are confined, due to health reasons, and cannot be with friends or family.

So, with a bag of Dove chocolates and a dozen red roses, she set out to impart some love to strangers. Much to her delight, the small gestures of gifts were met with smiles of joys and grateful hearts.

In 2020, Dave Crockett reluctantly joined the cause. While far less romantic in his motivation, he was keen on the charitable idea. He brought bigger ideas, and the duo delivered five dozen roses to assisted living and hospital facilities. Dave would personally present a rose, saying, “This is for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.” It didn’t take long for him to get the hang of it. He would soon turn to the nursing staff, with the added message, “Thank you for working on Valentine’s Day.”

The COVID pandemic was rampant in 2021, and care facilities throughout Sonoma County were off-limits to friends and families of those isolated within. While the first- and second-year effort was thoughtful and fun, the opportunity for expansion became obvious. Diane would name the cause “A Touchless Hug.”

Dave and Diane were joined by three other couples, Chris and Alisia Felciano, Mike and Sandy Hudson, and Dave and Linda McCuan, to deliver 60 dozen roses to an extended number of facilities. Dave coordinated the bulk purchase with Costco and Safeway, picking up the roses and storing them in fortified water to keep them fresh. Buckets upon buckets were strewn across Dave’s wine shed. Diane prepared the sheets of labels that read, “A Touchles Hug especially for you,” to be applied to each rose. The team members met at Dave’s wine shed early on Valentine’s Day to clip the roses and label them. They then loaded their vehicles and set out, with a list of assigned locations, to deliver the roses. All total, there were about 700 roses delivered that day to 14 different facilities.

What’s happening in 2022? A Touchless Hug is doubling its distribution, and the crew is correspondingly doubling too. If you would like to help, contact Dave or Diane at [email protected] Donations are joyfully welcomed. Send to A Touchless Hug, PO Box 1358, Kenwood, CA 95452.

Don’t forget to like the group on its Facebook page in an effort to expand its message.