HEART OF UTAH

Pandemic can’t stop Topaz Fairy on her mission to spread joy

Nov 19, 2021, 3:00 PM | Updated: Sep 29, 2022, 10:13 am
Sarah Pugliese

SALT LAKE CITY — To help children in their time of need, a graduate student in Utah and fairy friend to kids was determined not to be grounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarah Pugliese, who is a graduate student at the University of Utah and founder of the Topaz Fairy Project, joins KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to talk about her mission to comfort abused children.

Topaz Fairy Project

Pugliese said the Topaz Fairy sends care packages to kids going through hard times. 

“The care packages . . . have toys, treats and a customized note to tell them whatever they need to hear —  compliments, encouragement — just a little pick-me-up package for them,” she said.

Pugliese said the pandemic cut short her internship working with children who have been abused and traumatized. But she wasn’t to be stopped by social distancing.

“I wanted to think of something where I could still help kids and not have to physically be there with them. And I thought sending something through the mail was the perfect idea,” she said.

Special deliver from a fairy friend

As the Topaz Fairy, Pugliese said she has sent 314 care packages to abused and traumatized children across the United States.

“You’re an angel,” Debbie said.

“She’s a fairy, Deb,” Dave replied.

Pugliese said the parents send videos of their kids opening the care packages. And lots of photos, too.

Sarah Pugliese/ photo credit

“I also slip in a little envelope with a stamp, so kids can always write me back. I’ve kept in touch with a few as their fairy friend Topaz. I’ve kept in touch with some of these kids for a few months now. It’s been a lot of fun.”

She added she tries to make the care package as unique as the child receiving it. The parents tell her what the kid’s favorite things are — movies, toys and treats.  

“Everything is customized to them as well as the note, so I find out what they’re going through, what they need to hear. I really customize the note specific to help them.”

And, yes, she includes fairy-dust necklaces in the care packages. Every letter she writes gets the Topaz Fairy stamp, so kids know that it’s official.

 

Labor of love

In the beginning, Pugliese said she spent her own money sending through the mail the care packages, but now Operation Topaz Fairy is run by donations via Venmo and PayPal.

Debbie noted that the Topaz Fairy Facebook page (Topaz Fairy Project) has 400 followers, but will no doubt add more as listeners of the this show spread the word of magic and joy.

“It’s so much fun to see and hear their little screams when they open the box.”

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Pandemic can’t stop Topaz Fairy on her mission to spread joy