A volunteer in 2013's Hugs for Love campaign handing out balloons to shoppers.
A HUG a day keeps the blues away — or so the saying goes. And the Hugs for Love campaign aims to do just that in the name of charity.
Back for the second year running, the event on April 13 at 1Utama Shopping Centre will see 50 volunteers from all walks of life giving hugs to members of the public for a RM10 donation.
The brains behind the event is local non-profit organisation PeopleGiving, a group set up in 2012 to provide a free online fundraising platform for NGOs.
Last year's campaign raised RM11,111 for charity, with more than 1,000 hugs by volunteers.
"The idea behind Hugs for Love is to allow everyone to give back to society by just showing some love for their fellow human beings, with no strings attached.
"It is also a fun and unique way to encourage people to contribute to charity," said PeopleGiving manager Aqilah Yaacob.
Inspired by an Australian man known as Juan Mann, the Free Hugs Campaign has evolved into a social movement to create awareness of spreading love, joy and kindness to anyone, anywhere.
Aqilah said the movement was the first of its kind in Malaysia.
"We aim to raise RM12,000 this year, which will be used to continue providing a free online platform for other groups to raise funds for charitable causes," she added.
Part of the proceeds will also go to the National Cancer Council and National Stroke Association of Malaysia.
People in Asian countries are generally more conservative than their Western counterparts when it comes to hugging, but Aqilah said response among Malaysians had been encouraging.
"At first, people were reluctant to come forward, but they started opening up when they saw what we were trying to achieve," said Aqilah.
So, are there any rules to the hugging process?
"It depends on the individual. If females feel more comfortable hugging females, they can choose to do so," she said.
The Hugs For Love 2 campaign will be from 2pm to 6pm.
The public can also make donations online.
For details, visit www.facebook.com/PeopleGiving.
By Choo Woon Lim