Industrious Parishioner Warms Local Unsheltered with Quarantine Blanket Project

What did you do during the quarantine?

SS. Isidore and Maria parishioner Mary Gail Houde decided she had to use this period of time to do something to help others.

“I have no background in medical, so that was out,” she said “So I said I can sew.”

And sew she did. At first she handmade countless face masks, which she donated to her daughter’s employer, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and to local police departments. Yet when the demand for masks waned, Mary Gail wanted to keep busy sewing, so she next chose to make blankets.

“The blankets came to mind and I know there’s a need,” she said. “I did it because I felt I could, and because everyone during that time seemed to be asking themselves ‘what can I do?’ So much was happening out there. It seems like everyone felt we had to work toward a bigger effort.”

That’s when Mary Gail got to work, purchasing the materials out of her own pocket, and donating her time to create more than 30 blankets over a 12-month period.

“It grew quite big. I saw the need and just kept going,” Mary Gail said. “It was fun. It helped me out and I felt it would be nice to think there are people keeping warm this winter because of this.”

In donating the blankets to her parish, Mary Gail asked that they be distributed to those in need, particularly the unsheltered.

“What an amazing thing to do while in quarantine,” wrote Rev. Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in a recent letter to Mary Gail “Thank you for sharing your generosity and talents with our community.

To make certain the blankets ultimately arrived in the hands of those in need, SS. Isidore and Maria delivered them to two local non-profit organizations: Hands on Hartford and Immacare, both of which provide services to Hartford’s most economically challenged residents.

“These beautiful handmade blankets won’t only warm our community, but our hearts as well,” Hands on Hartford wrote in gratitude on their Facebook page.