When Sarah Pugliese started her internship helping children of trauma and abuse, she felt that she had found her calling. It was what she had always wanted to do. Unfortunately, like it has with so many things, COVID-19 cut her internship short. Not being with the kids anymore was disappointing to say the least.
“I missed helping hands on,” Pugliese says.
But maybe there was something else she could do. Or maybe something a magical fairy could do.
The Topaz Fairy Is Born
Under her new fairy persona, Topaz, named for her birthstone, she sent personalized care packages to a few children who needed cheering up. With the intension of delivering a few boxes to children in her hometown, Pugliese, er, Topaz, got to work compiling packages with items of interest for each child, along with a personalized note.
She posted a “boxing” video on social media where she showed viewers what went into a very special care package that was on its way from Topaz to a child. That’s all it took for things to blow up.
Requests for more packages came in, as well as donations from generous people wanting to help her continue bringing smiles to others. What had started as a tiny seed of an idea started to grow.
“I never expected to do very many. I was only going to do them for a few children,” says Pugliese. But clearly there was a need out there for Topaz to spread magic further. She officially started the Topaz Fairy Project and put her magic to good use.
Pugliese recently passed the one-year anniversary of those first packages, and to date she has assembled and sent care packages to 375 kids in 45 states. Each box of goodies is as unique as the child who has needed them.
Behind the Magic
Once a name has been submitted, Pugliese finds out about the child, typically ages 2–16, from parents or the person who nominated them—things like the child’s favorite color, animal, toy, snack, and hobby.
Using donated funds, she purchases gifts the child would appreciate, depending on their interests. Toys, craft supplies, journals, snacks, and other items make up most of the box, with small filler toys as well.
The Topaz Fairy also includes a personalized, handwritten note to encourage the child. Parents or others who know the child fill her in on what the child is going through and provide special details that will help make the letter more meaningful.
“I write what they need to hear to help them get through a hard time or to boost their confidence,” Pugliese explains.
She always includes a self-addressed stamped envelope so children have the option of writing back to Topaz. And many do—about 30 or so have replied once, and about 5 regularly correspond with Topaz. That’s why she always keeps track of what she writes in each letter to keep the conversation going.
“One girl was terrified of going to school in person. I sent her a necklace with fairy dust on it to keep her safe, along with a poem,” Pugliese says. “She sent a picture of her first day.”
Other children draw pictures of what they think Topaz looks like or just thank her for the much-needed care package.
“There are so many sad stories,” Pugliese says. “As long as there is a kid in need, there is a need for magic in the world.”
Making a Difference, One Child at a Time
For one child who lost a grandpa, Topaz sent a package with a note saying that Grandpa was watching over them. To another set of siblings who had lost an uncle very close to them, Topaz sent packages with dinosaur fossils inside, along with a note that said fairies can talk to angels like their uncle.
“They had been through such loss,” Pugliese recalls. “I just wanted to put a smile on their faces.”
Aside from personalized packages, Pugliese has sponsored a Christmas party for 80 kids at a justice center and made 100 bags for police officers and justice centers.
While the original internship of her dreams was cut short, she’s been able to keep doing what she felt called to do.
She only ships in the United States, and she likes being the brains behind choosing items for the child as well as writing the personal messages from Topaz. Her creativity and personality come through, as well as her empathy for children going through tough times.
Thank goodness for magic.
To learn more, follow The Topaz Fairy Project on Facebook. Donations can be sent via Venmo to @TopazFairyProject or via PayPal to Sarahbug47@gmail.com.
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