U. student spreads joy, gifts to kids in need with help from 'Topaz the Fairy'

Sarah Pugliese poses with items ready to go in her Topaz Fairy boxes. To date, she has mailed out 357 boxes to kids in 45 states.

Sarah Pugliese poses with items ready to go in her Topaz Fairy boxes. To date, she has mailed out 357 boxes to kids in 45 states. (Sarah Pugliese)

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Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Two brothers lost their home in a fire. A little boy sends his dad off for another deployment. A little girl struggles going to sleep at night. One fairy sends gifts to lift their spirits.

In March of this year, Sarah Pugliese found herself without a job after her internship helping preschool-aged children with trauma ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She found herself desperately wanting to help these children who she was used to seeing every day. Soon, an idea popped into her head. What these children needed during these challenging times was magic, and who better to deliver the magic than a fairy?

"Being a child should be a magical time, and I wanted to be able to deliver that to them," Pugliese said. "I decided that I would find kids in need in my area, and send them a gift box with a personalized note from who I called 'Topaz the Fairy.'"

At the time, Pugliese was living in the small town of Price, and thought that she would probably just get a handful of children who would benefit from a little pick-me-up package. These packages included a toy that was hand-picked for each child, as well as a personalized note and some fairy dust. It was a labor of love, as she used her own funds to spread joy to these children.

Soon, however, word of the "Topaz Fairy" spread, and the list got longer.

"I was spending my own money on these gifts, which I was totally happy doing, but as the list got longer, I posted on social media to see if anyone wanted to donate to the project, and the donations started coming in."

Pugliese said that she has a larger following on Twitter due to "being a crazy Utah Jazz fan," and she posted about her project, and people just wanted to help. The donations and shares about her project continued, and pretty soon, she was helping children from all over the nation. She said that as the requests for her fairy gifts came in, she began to learn about the varying needs of children around the country.

"I will get requests for fairy boxes from parents, uncles, aunts and even police officers," she said. "These kids are dealing with so many things from bullying, anxiety and intense trauma. I recently sent boxes to two teenage brothers who lost their home in a fire. Suffering doesn't discriminate, and there are a lot of children who just need a pick-me-up."

When asked how she decides who gets a box from Topaz the Fairy, she said she doesn't turn anyone down.

"I'm not picky with who gets a box," Pugliese said. "In my eyes, there's no struggle too small for a Topaz box."

Since the project began, Pugliese has sent 357 Topaz the Fairy boxes to children in 45 states, as well as 100 bags for police officers and justice centers to distribute. She said she hopes to keep the project going as long as she can.

When KSL.com interviewed Pugliese, she was deep in finals at the University of Utah where she is studying human development and social policy, which she says will only help her make this project grow.

For those who wish to donate to the project, go to "The Topaz Fairy Project" on Facebook.



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