WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A woman in West Haven has created and donated thousands of quilts to foster kids. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed her down, this ‘Blanket Fairy’ is continuing her mission to bring comfort to those who need it most.
“At least I know I’m making a difference,” says Sue Yamaguchi. Inspired by her husband’s tough past, she pledged to do something special for foster kids.
So, she started sewing…and sewing…and sewing some more.
Since 2008, this West Haven mom and grandmom has donated nearly 11,000 handmade quilts to kids in the Department of Children and Families system.
She’s earned the title, ‘The Blanket Fairy’.
“It’s like giving a kid a hug,” she says. “If a kid is crying and screaming and you pass them a blanket with warm and fuzzies, automatically it calms them down regardless of what the situation is.”
“When people receive a blanket, they really can tell that there’s love in that blanket, they get that emotional hug, that physical hug,” says daughter, Jeni Conroy, who is so proud of her mom’s effort.
In the past, workshops have been held at the Orange Congregational Church and even in schools, involving folks of all ages. But the pandemic changed all that, and now Yamaguchi has been working largely on her own, still trying to hit her yearly goal of 1,000 quilts by December.
“Now we have to bag things individually due to COVID,” she says, noting the increased work.
But this three-time cancer survivor is not deterred.
“People have said to me, ‘You can’t do this because you’re suffering,'” she says. “No, you have no idea what suffering is until you’ve been in these kids’ shoes…I just thank God to have the ability to have this skill.”
With that humble spirit and a giving heart, Yamaguchi will continue to put devotion and care into each stitch and every knot.
“Sometimes the littlest things that we don’t think will mean a lot are mountains, especially when it gives a child some kind of security, warmth, and comfort,” she says.
Yamaguchi is looking for volunteers, along with donations of fleece and funds.
If you’re interested in helping, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.