A hug is such a simple gesture that can do so much.  Just ask Melinda Schmitt, the inspiration behind my month long hug challenge.  I had the opportunity to talk with the 'hug lady' about her year long pledge. 

She said she had the idea after moving from her family and friends in Connecticut. 'I moved to North Carolina and missed the closeness I had with my family and friends. So I challenged myself to hug as many people in my community as possible for a year.'

That's a lot of hugs.  How does she pick who to embrace?  Anyone on the street? 'My hugs come from gratitude.  If I'm at the  grocery store, I'm hugging the clerk, thanking them.'  But not everyone is receptive.   'Most of the responses are beautiful but I have gotten a couple of nos and that's understandable.  Not everyone is into hugs.'  I could name one, Matt Herkimer, who likes his personal space.

The official year of hugs for Melinda may be over but that doesn't stop her from still hugging people. 'When it ended it became  so much more than a challenge.  It became a lifestyle change for me so it's something I've continued. It feels really good to have reached and touched so many people.'

Melinda has been following my month long challenge after a friend found my post on our website.  Despite being in North Carolina she's heard of Big Frog 104 and is a big fan. 'When my father in law was going through cancer he was in Utica and you guys were such a bright spot for my husband and I during that time.  So we hold a special place in our heart for you guys.'  Small world.

Join Melinda, the hug lady and myself in hugging at least one person every day.  You don't have to pledge for a year.  Try it for just a week and see what a difference it can make.

A co-worker who has been dealing with cancer for years met me at the door yesterday morning to get his hug.  He said he wanted on the hugging bandwagon.

Who have you hugged today?