The “I Need a Hug” program, a partnership between the Valparaiso softball program and the United Way of Porter County, is currently in the running to receive $25,000 of funding through the Pepsi Refresh project. Fans can vote once per day through the end of the month for “I Need a Hug”, and the top ten ideas in the voting at the end of June will receive funding.
The “I Need a Hug” program was begun in 2004 by the Crusader softball team and evolved into a partnership with the United Way of Porter County. The program collects new stuffed animals and places them in area elementary schools to give comfort to children going through difficult times. In its six years of existence, the program has grown exponentially and has placed many thousands of stuffed animals into local schools. This past year, the program was implemented in schools throughout Lake, LaPorte and Porter Counties.
The Pepsi Refresh project started in February to provide funding to people, businesses and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive impact on the community. If selected, “I Need a Hug” will use the $25,000 of funding to purchase a greater number of stuffed animals in order to meet the growing needs of the participating schools.