Local Free Mom Hugs chapter offers solace for LGBTQIA community

A local organization that supports the LGBTQIA community is kicking off Pride Month with a "timeless embrace."
A mom in the Midwest sparked an idea -- offer a hug to anyone, as coming out can feel lonely -- Free Mom Hugs.
"There are a lot of people who don't get the family support, the affirmation," said Ellen Hart, of Stamford. "I contacted the national organization and said, 'Do you have a chapter in Connecticut?' And they said, 'No, start one."
Hart started giving out free hugs as Free Mom Hugs CT at Bethel Pride in 2019.
"We set up a booth, we walked around, we gave hugs -- it was amazing," she said
One of the first recipients was Alanna Kennedy of Norwalk.
"My extended family rejected me, as did my wife. I was feeling quite low," she said.
The embrace broke her isolation.
"I started crying. I was thinking about normal everyday mothers accepting me. I could maybe survive in this world, then the world shifted."
During the pandemic, Hart held weekly Zoom calls for everyone who wanted to drop in and chat.
Free Mom Hugs will be at Pride events around the state.