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COVID-19

Mississippi teen creates ‘hugging booths’

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Cooper Williams, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Madison County, understands the importance of families being together during the holidays and figured out a way to make it happen despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of the vulnerability of the elderly, people who have family members at assisted living facilities and nursing homes could only have window visits with their loved ones, until now.

Williams created “hugging booths,” structures made with a plastic sheet with armholes that loved ones can use to embrace.

Cooper Williams works on one of his hugging booths. (photo source: Clarion Ledger, used with permission)

Williams built each booth himself, and has donated one booth to each building within the Martha Coker Senior Services in Yazoo City.

Family members can book an appointment to use them, and families began using them in December.

Gale Hill, an Edwards native, said it was the first time in seven months she had hugged her mother.

“I’ve been praying for this for a long time,” Hill told the Vicksburg Daily News. “I mean, that’s my mama. I really missed hugging my mama.”

An employee of the facility sees the benefit the booths can have.

“One of the residents had been saying she just wanted to give up because life wasn’t worth living if she couldn’t hug her babies,” she said “I feel confident saying that the booth brought back her will to live.”

And if that is not enough for Williams, his ingenuity and drive also earned him an Eagle Scout badge.

Copyright © 2021 Vicksburg Daily News.

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