HUG advocates for inclusion and connects people with disabilities to social events and activities

Help Us Gather

Help Us Gather exists to provide every individual a sense of inclusion, confidence and friendship. The HUG team accomplishes this goal by providing a calendar of local events for individuals with disabilities, organizing HUG Ambassadors and volunteers, hosting social gatherings and attending community events. Help Us Gather is a part of The Helping Project, a 501(c)3 charity organization.

The HUG Story

Help Us Gather’s founder explains why the nonprofit was founded

“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

Meet Rick

Meet the HUG Team

Robin Lally

Founder

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

Favorite Movies: Somewhere in Time, Forest Gump, Cinderella, every Hallmark Christmas movie ever made.

Why I like working 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 of the time!

Ashley Richmond

Community Outreach

Things that make me smile: Friendly people, cute pets, quality time with family & friends, traveling, cooking, kayaking and relaxing on the beach!

Favorite Movies: Ratatouille, Balto, Elf

Why I like working at HUG: I love having the opportunity to make people smile every day. Working toward our mission of inclusion gives me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Plus, our friends are so loving and fun. They make me so happy!

Kevin Stamper

Digital Storyteller

Things that make me smile: Filming Winter the Dolphin dancing at the aquarium, surprising Bill at CMA with requests to film, watching Dolphin Tale 1, 2 & 3 over and over again with my children Jane & Oliver, and carrying around my Winter keychain on my camera bag!

Favorite movies: Dolphin Tale 1, 2 & 3

Why I like working at HUG: I get to do fun stuff like shoot videos of our HUG friends at Clearwater Marine Aquarium and spend time with celebrities like Winter & Hope!

Cassie Madden

Content Creator

Things that make me smile: My family, edible cookie dough, sloths, Renaissance art, farmer’s markets, attending concerts, spending time with friends, cats, and going out to dinner!

Favorite movies: Ever After, The Prestige, Finding Dory, Beauty and the Beast

Why I like working at HUG: I enjoy working at a place that is dedicated to helping others.  HUG has such a wonderful mission that resonates with me since I have a background in ABA therapy. Inclusion is the only way we move forward as a society and I am excited to be a part of the movement!

Bertie

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

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!

HUG’s History

2017

HUG Founded

November 1, 2017

HUG Founded

Robin Lally founds Help Us Gather, a free website connecting people with disabilities to social events and activities

2017

HUG’s First TV Appearance

December 6, 2017

HUG’s First TV Appearance

HUG makes its first local TV appearance on FOX 13’s “What’s Right with Tampa Bay” segment

2017

HUG on National TV

December 12, 2017

HUG on National TV

HUG makes its first big-market TV appearance on FOX’s “30 for 30” segment

2018

HUG Ambassador Program

January 10, 2018

HUG Ambassador Program

HUG’s Ambassador program is born, inspired by the Original HUG Ambassador Melissa Caulfield

2018

Friends of HUG Social Group

March 10, 2018

Friends of HUG Social Group

HUG starts a new program called the Friends of HUG Social Group, offering a way for adults with disabilities to get together at fun, free events and make new friends

2018

Beyond Beautiful

April 14, 2018

Beyond Beautiful

HUG holds Beyond Beautiful, its first inclusive fashion show for women

2018

HUG Citizen’s Academy

June 9, 2018

HUG Citizen’s Academy

HUG’s first inclusive, adaptive Citizen’s Academy with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

2018

Dirk’s First Pitch

August 14, 2018

Dirk’s First Pitch

HUG helps Dirk Howard return to Tropicana Field for the first time since his father’s death to throw out the first pitch at the Tampa Bay Rays game

2018

Celebrity Event

November 3, 2018

Celebrity Event

HUG holds its first Celebrity Event fundraiser, highlighting HUG’s 2018 Celebrities and their accomplishments

2019

Orange Party

January 19, 2019

Orange Party

HUG’s first Orange Party, celebrating the one-year anniversary of the HUG Ambassador program

2019

Beyond Incredible

April 6, 2019

Beyond Incredible

HUG holds Beyond Incredible, its first inclusive fashion show for men & women

2019

New Office

April 15, 2019

New Office

HUG moves into a new, expanded office space

2019

Ribbon Cutting

June 26, 2019

Ribbon Cutting

HUG’s 2019 Mr. Inspirational Andrew Brettner takes part in his first ribbon cutting at Radiant Home Inspection

2019

HUG Hero Honored

July 29, 2019

HUG Hero Honored

HUG’s Mr. Charitable 2019 Tim Kraus is honored as both Bay News 9 Everyday Hero & FOX 13 Hometown Hero

2019

HUG’s Top Model

July 30, 2019

HUG’s Top Model

HUG helps aspiring model Ethan Holt land his first photoshoot for Surf Style

2019

New Board Member

August 29, 2019

New Board Member

Original HUG Ambassador Melissa Caulfield becomes a HUG Board Member