This 'hug time' structure is melting everyone's hearts

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, social distancing is leading to a lot of loneliness as friends and family stay apart. This loneliness seems to have sparked creativity as people have been coming up with unique ways to address this, from drive-by baby showers to Zoom calls.

While these things may help ease the loneliness of isolation a little bit, there's no real substitute for physical touch. With this sentiment at the heart of it, one woman has found a way to let her kids safely embrace their great-grandmother during the pandemic. Carly Marinaro has five children ranging in age from 1 to 12. She and her 85-year-old grandmother, Rose Gagnon, have a close bond and, before the pandemic, would see each other almost daily. Now, though, Gagnon is self-isolating in her condominium. "My arms ache from not cuddling my grandchildren," Gagnon told Yahoo Life.

Heartbroken, Marinaro decided to invent a "Hug Time" device so that her kids and her grandmother could finally hug each other after two months apart.

The "hug time" structure only took an hour to build

Marinaro said she first got the idea after seeing a video of a man hugging others using a plastic bag as a barrier. Marinaro adopted the idea into a more stable structure. She bought livestock gloves, which are typically used for medical procedures, and a window insulation kit. She resized the materials to fit her grandmother's height and spelled out the words "HUG TIME" on the contraption in red tape and glued on colorful hearts made from construction paper. Marinaro said the materials cost less than $50 and took around an hour to assemble.

After the structure was built, Marinaro asked Gagnon to come to the house. When she arrived, Marinaro invited her grandmother to put her arms through the slots and hug the kids, who were delighted to see their beloved great-grandmother.

"My granddaughter did a superb job," said Gagnon. "It blows my mind and fills my heart."