Local Woman Gives the Gift of Warmth

BOSTON, Mass.—In the midst of a winter that seems to be never-ending, one Watertown resident is trying to keep those who are less fortunate in the Boston area a little warmer, inside and out.

Cathy O’Grady, a wife, mother and full-time accountant, has found time in her busy schedule to ensure those in need are cared for. Through her online jewelry business, Cathy’s Creations, she is able to fund everything from cancer awareness to individual families in need.

Her charitable efforts for the homeless started about two years ago when she created “blessing bags” filled with gloves, scarves, hats, sanitary items and granola bars that she handed out to the homeless whenever she came to Boston.

“I posted the blessing bags on the Cathy’s Creations Facebook page and it went viral and other people were making them,” said O’Grady.

More recently, her jewelry business funded a blanket spree in Boston parks.

“A while ago I went into Boston and I saw a homeless [person] using a trash bag as a jacket to keep warm sitting on the ground and it just broke my heart,” said O’Grady. “I can’t think of any circumstance where a human should have to use a trash bag to keep warm.”

Last month O’Grady left 30 blankets around Boston with notes reading: “These blankets are not lost! If you are cold without shelter and looking for comfort then they are for you! Please take one and know that you are important.” The blankets also contained $5 McDonald’s gift cards.

While her charitable efforts for the homeless have been her more publicized acts, O’Grady also organizes toy drives, cancer walk groups and gives back to local hospitals. While a friend’s husband was battling cancer, O’Grady helped raise $1000 to send the family to Disney World. The husband passed away a few weeks later.

Earlier this month, O’Grady helped that same friend show gratitude to the nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where her husband was hospitalized by creating 318 Grateful Bags. The bags were filled with goodies such as MBTA passes and scratch tickets that were handed out to nurses, representing the 318 days her husband battled cancer.

O’Grady recently traveled to South Carolina with her friend and partner-in-good, Carolyn Arias, to donate toys to children in a Ronald McDonald House. The two met during the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure in Boston a year ago when Arias walked with O’Grady’s team, Sofia’s Angels, dedicated to her mother who lost her battle with breast cancer. After the walk, the two stayed in touch and now complete acts of kindness together.

“I always said when I’m in a position where I can help and give back I want to do that, and when I met Cathy I was like, this is it right here,” said Arias. “I don’t have a lot to give financially but I have a whole lot of love I can give.”

In the next few weeks, the good-doing-duo will travel to Christopher’s Haven in Boston where O’Grady will donate a big screen TV and other household items the organization needs. The two will also travel to New York where they’ll meet up with fellow Sophia’s Angels from across the country to support The Tutu Project, a cause dedicated to breast cancer research. O’Grady has pledged to donate $100 for each Sophia’s Angel member who participates in the New York trip.

“She just does things and doesn’t look back. She doesn’t think about how it may affect what she’s leaving behind whether it be work or whatever,” said Arias. “She just goes because she knows someone has a need and she just does it.”

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