The Story

Inspired by founder Robin Lally’s relationship with her brother Rick, who has autism, Help Us Gather is a nonprofit dedicated to people with disabilities. Personal experience and professional research show us that people with disabilities possess wonderful strengths of character, inspirational outlooks, reliable moral compasses, and extraordinary senses of humor. Yet, these valuable members of society are likely to spend their lives isolated from strong social networks, productive work, and a fulfilling life’s purpose because of common misperceptions. So, our mission is simple: we advocate for inclusion and connect people with disabilities to vibrant social lives.
The HUG team spearheads a community calendar of events for people with special needs, hosts gatherings and outings, organizes HUG Ambassadors and volunteers to excite others about the beauty of inclusion, and represents a positive image for people with disabilities at community events.
The result? A lot of joy.
Help Us Gather is a part of The Helping Project, a 501(c)(3) charity organization.
Robin and Rick

How It Started

“I came up with the idea to create HUG after moving my older brother Rick to Clearwater in 2015. Finding him medical and job assistance services was straightforward, but helping him build his social circle was difficult! It took persistence and nearly a year of searching to get him connected in the community. I kept thinking there should be a website to organize all of the wonderful things our community has to offer. So in 2017, I started Help Us Gather, or HUG for short. My hope is this tool will make it easier for others to connect to the community, enjoy fun events and activities, and find new friendships, just as my brother did.”
-Robin Lally, Founder, Help Us Gather

Why Inclusion Matters

1 in 4 households in America are affected by disability.

76% of people with disabilities feel alone and isolated.

People who are lonely get sick easier and have shorter lifespans.

Only 4% of businesses are inclusive of those with disabilities.

Adults with a strong social support network have fewer health problems and are happier.

Meet the man
who inspired

HUG's Organization Overview

Now be
inspired by

We love our mission. It makes us happy to share our story with you. Check out the HUG-at-a-glance overview here to see how we started and what we’re all about.

How You Can Help

Get Involved


Become More Inclusive

Meet the HUG Team

Robin Lally


Things that make me smile: Playful dogs, the beautiful Florida sunsets, parties with disco balls, coffee in the morning, my family, fun events and activities to go to!

Favorite Movies: Somewhere in Time, Forest Gump, Cinderella

Why I like volunteering at HUG: I get to meet new people and go to fun events and activities in town, and I have great team members who teach me new things all the time!

Sara Strandberg

Community Outreach & Marketing Coordinator

Things that make me smile: Traveling, random acts of kindness, Buccaneers football games, cooking, and spending time at the beach!

Favorite Movies: Napoleon Dynamite, Hidden Figures, Avengers

Why I like working at HUG: I like HUG for its strong community ties and life-changing impact. Teaming up with inspiring, intelligent, and kind-hearted team members who motivate me to strive for excellence is truly fulfilling.


Head of Barketing

Things that make me smile: Naps on my favorite couch, unicorn-themed dog beds, fancy sunglasses, Thanksgiving turkey and treats!

Favorite movies: Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Shiloh, The Secret Life of Pets 1 & 2

Why I like working at HUG: I nap all day, get lots of scratches behind the ears from my coworkers and I get paid in treats. It’s the life!

Still want more HUG?