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Sue Lucarelli, of Manhasset, is founder and director (Credit: Uli Seit)

Sue Lucarelli, of Manhasset, is founder and director of Hugs Across America, a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 750,000 teddy bears to children around the world since 2001. (Aug. 16, 2013)

Hugs Across America

Hugs Across America is a Manhasset-based nonprofit organization that has provided more than 750,000 teddy bears to children -- and in some cases, adults -- around the world since 2001.

Sue Lucarelli, of Manhasset, is founder and director
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(Credit: Uli Seit)

Sue Lucarelli, of Manhasset, is founder and director of Hugs Across America, a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 750,000 teddy bears to children around the world since 2001. (Aug. 16, 2013)

Hugs Across America founder Sue Lucarelli, third from
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(Credit: Uli Seit)

Hugs Across America founder Sue Lucarelli, third from left, helps volunteers Karen Altenburg, Geri Kushner, Jimmy Liu and Francesca Runge attach handwritten messages to teddy bears to be donated. They say things like: “A hug today will chase the blues away.” (Aug. 16, 2013)

A handwritten note is attached to every teddy
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(Credit: Uli Seit)

A handwritten note is attached to every teddy bear Hugs Across America gives away. One note reads: "Just in case you're feeling blue, I've got a great big hug for u!" (Aug. 16, 2013)

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Volunteers at the Hugs Across America founding chapter,
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(Credit: Uli Seit)

Volunteers at the Hugs Across America founding chapter, at Community Reformed Church in Manhasset, attach handwritten notes to teddy bears. From left, volunteers Francesca Runge, Barbara Hechman, Marian Hashmat and Jimmy Liu. (Aug. 16, 2013)

The bears that members of Hugs Across America
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(Credit: Uli Seit)

The bears that members of Hugs Across America donate must adhere to certain guidelines. They must be new, measure between nine and 14 inches tall and be huggable — that means no voice boxes or accessories. (Aug. 16, 2013)

Volunteers at the Hugs Across America founding chapter,
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(Credit: Uli Seit)

Volunteers at the Hugs Across America founding chapter, at Community Reformed Church in Manhasset, bag up teddy bears to be shipped to children in need or crisis. From left, volunteers Geri Kushner, Marian Hashmat, Barbara Hechman, Francesca Runge and Jimmy Liu. (Aug. 16, 2013

Barbara Hachmann sits on the Hugs Across America
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(Credit: ULI SEIT)

Barbara Hachmann sits on the Hugs Across America board of directors; as secretary, she records minutes for the organization and helps out with fundraisers. The Manhasset resident joined following her retirement in 2008 after more than 30 years as a Bethpage school district psychologist. (Aug. 16, 2013)

Myriam Neylon, 35, with son Morgan, 4, and
(Credit: Handout)

Myriam Neylon, 35, with son Morgan, 4, and daughter Megan, 2, got teddy bear gifts from Hugs Across America a few days after superstorm Sandy hit their Long Beach home. (October 2012)

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Hugs Across America founder Sue Lucarelli, left, with
(Credit: Handout)

Hugs Across America founder Sue Lucarelli, left, with her pupils in Manhattan a week after 9/11. On that day the children with learning disabilities shared and hugged three bears that she passed around. (September 2001)

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