Extension News

Operation Give a Hug Provides Dolls to Children of Deployed Parents


AMES, Iowa-- Operation: Military Kids has recently added Operation Give a Hug dolls to its resources for children of deployed parents. This action is in response to the recent extension of deployed military.


"This recent deployment extension has had a profound emotional effect on Iowa’s military kids. Approximately 1,000 Iowa kids have been impacted by the deployment extension of their parents," said Chris Gleason, the state military liaison for the Iowa State University Extension 4-H Youth Development program. "There is no way these dolls can replace a parent's hug, but it is a little something for these kids to hold on to."


Operation Give a Hug was founded in 2004 to help military children cope with the separation from deployed parents. The program provides children with cloth dolls whose faces have a clear plastic pouch in which to fit a picture of a deployed parent. This provides military children "a way to hug their deployed parents until they can do it for real." Through Iowa's Operation: Military Kids, the dolls are free to military families; 30 already have been sent to children across Iowa.


Operation: Military Kids is a partnership between the U.S. Army’s Child and Youth Services and USDA/4-H that works with children of the National Guard and Reserve soldiers.


For more information on obtaining Operation Give a Hug dolls for military children, contact Chris Gleason at (515) 294-1557 or cgleason@iastate.edu.


Contacts :

Chris Gleason, 4-H Youth Development, (515) 294-1557, cgleason@iastate.edu

Carol Ouverson, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-9640, couverso@iastate.edu