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Joan Hardenbrook and other residents at McFarlan Villages in Flint have been unable to see and talk to their loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You just had to talk on the phone or through the window,” Hardenbrook said.

“Before they weren’t too happy about the window visits and having to talk to their loved ones through the window,” said Kelly Price, with McFarlan Villages.

Now, staff at the assisted living home are bringing the human touch to residents through the hugging booth.

“The thought with all the decline and social isolation that our residents are having that this would be a really cool thing for them to have,” Price said. “They have the opportunity to actually touch their loved ones.”

The hugging booth is sanitized after each use in order to keep residents safe from the virus, while bringing them closer to family.

“It was amazing. There was tears everywhere and residents really loved it and families loved it as well,” Price said.

What was once a heart-wrenching visit through the window is now a heart-warming hello met with holding hands and a much-needed hug.

“I looked out and I saw my daughter and I went and we immediately wrapped our arms around each other through the plastic,” Hardenbrook said.

Read more: WNEM.com