Top News

Island mothers offering free hugs throughout P.E.I. Pride festivities

Teressa Peters is ready to give a hug to anyone who wants one during the upcoming Pride events in Charlottetown. She founded a group called Free Mom Hugs Canada last month. Daniel Brown/The Guardian.
Teressa Peters is ready to give a hug to anyone who wants one during the upcoming Pride events in Charlottetown. She founded a group called Free Mom Hugs Canada last month. Daniel Brown/The Guardian. - Daniel Brown
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A group of Island mothers is offering free hugs during this year’s Pride events.

Teressa Peters founded Free Mom Hugs Canada in June 2019. She hopes Charlottetown is the first of many chapters across the country for this Christian-based group.

“Really it’s just about being present and being seen,” she said, “and being a mom.”

The Island chapter, consisting of 10-15 members, plans to attend the Pride Kickoff BBQ at Rochford Square in Charlottetown on July 20. They also have a street corner reserved for the Charlottetown Pride Parade on July 27 and will be present elsewhere throughout the festivities.

The group’s mandate is to affirm members of the LGBTQ+ community who may not have received support from their families during their coming out process. While the moms aren’t necessarily counsellors, they’ll be available to listen and provide a safe space for people who are feeling hurt.

The main part of that mandate is free hugs. Anyone who wants one is more than welcome to get one, Peters said. 

“We just really believe in the healing power of a hug.”

The group is modelled after a similar organization in the United States, simply called Free Mom Hugs. Peters decided to take the lead on setting up a Canadian version because she’s a loving mom and because of her Christian faith.

“They are the beloved of God, just like everything else.”

She also runs a group at her home called Generous Space twice a month. There, LGBTQ+ people are welcomed to gather and learn about Christianity together.

“(To) meet people who are on the same journey, trying to find their faith again.”

“We just really believe in the healing power of a hug.”
-Teressa Peters

The group plans to maintain a presence after the Pride Events, whether it be at other functions or their own. They also sell T-shirts with their group logo, which depicts a mother lion because the animals are known to be fierce protectors of their young. 

“The T-shirts are more about the movement and not about the sales.”

Free Mom Hugs has sold a few shirts to people across Canada who loved the initiative. Peters has also been in touch with someone in Barrie, Ont., who would like to see a chapter set up there. 

While there’s still a lot of work ahead for the group, she believes they’ll be able to expand their presence and the movement as a whole by next year.

“I love that it was birthed here in Charlottetown,” she said.

Recent Stories