Coronavirus kindness: South Bay woman makes blankets for people who lost loved ones to COVID-19

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As people lose loved ones to the coronavirus pandemic, a Morgan Hill woman is trying to support them in a warm and fuzzy way because the coronavirus can impact families in terrible ways.

San Jose's Joanie Thomas and her family saw this reality play out earlier this year.

"Back in March, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law both died of the COVID-19 virus," Thomas said. "My aunt also died and she is kind of like my mom to me."

In such a difficult time, it was an unsuspecting gift that helped turn things around.

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"A friend of mine, Kelli, called me up and said, 'I'm going to drop off something for you and just leave it on your porch,'" Thomas said. "I go out on my porch and this beautiful blanket was there. I think of it as the comfort blanket or the love blanket."

The blanket was the product of hours of work by Morgan Hill's Kate Nelson, who has never even met Thomas.

Most of the blankets she makes for people are for complete strangers.

Nelson will see stories on the news and find a way to give back to families in need.

One of Nelson's blankets was even given to the San Jose nurse that we told you about in May who lost two loved ones to COVID-19.

Making blankets is Nelson's way to help those grieving.

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"It makes me feel really good because I know the joy and the happiness that they can bring," Nelson said. "Even if I don't know those people, that's fine. I just know that they'll be happy to have one."

Kate has been making 10 blankets a month for 17 years. That's a lot of support for people who need it.

It's a hand-made hug in the form of a blanket.

"That's the kind of person I am. I love to do things for people. I've given a lot to places that are doing chemo and dialysis. It just fills my heart."

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A blanket keeps the body warm. The gift of a comfort blanket warms the heart.

"It makes me want to learn how to crochet so I can pass the gift along," Thomas said. "I can't think of a nicer gift, I really can't. Flowers come and go, and I love flowers, but the blanket is forever. Kate, I've never met you but what a gift."

It's a simple act, but Nelson said she just likes to make God smile.

If you want to donate blanket materials to Nelson, reach out to ABC7 News South Bay Community Journalist Dustin Dorsey at dustin.w.dorsey@abc.com.

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