By edhat staff
The 11th annual Free Hugs Across America Tour arrived in Santa Barbara on Monday.
Anton Zyngier, this year’s “Hug Master,” is representing the crowdfunded campaign by traveling across the country during the holidays to take on the loneliness epidemic with hugs.
Zyngier will be walking around town with a sign offering free hugs. He arrived at the Amtrak Station on State Street early Monday evening and plans to be in the area until Wednesday afternoon.
The group states that loneliness has been linked to premature deaths at similar levels of cigarettes and obesity. “Hugs have been shown to have a positive impact on all of the health issues that loneliness causes, be they physiological or psychological in nature. They’re also a moment of shared vulnerability which increase trust and gives people a sense of belonging. Best of all, hugs are an example of a small action anyone can take to make the world a better place!” the organization stated on their website.
This trip has already stopped in Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. After leaving Santa Barbara, the Hug Train will move to Los Angeles, Tucson, Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta, and New York.
The group is hosting a GoFundMe campaign to receive donations to help their mission as well as provide supplies to local homeless.