“As Long as there’s a need”

Eastern grad helping the community and a local nonprofit throughout COVID-19 global pandemic

In the wake of COVID-19, various businesses, organizations and nonprofits, among others, are looking for ways to help those either in their local community or across the world.

One way is to contribute to the overwhelming need for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).  As the pandemic continues, stores, airlines and other businesses are requiring face masks, resulting in a need across the  country and South Jersey.

Eastern Regional alumnus Sophie Ferguson saw an opportunity to help.

Currently a freshman at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, she  came back to Voorhees after her school, like many others, went to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

Rather quickly, she started to brainstorm about how to help others.

“About a week after we had been going through with remote learning, I kind of got used to it and it got easier, so I had some more free time,” Ferguson said. “So when I was bored one day, I decided to make a prototype and I thought it went really well.”

Before going to Eastern, Ferguson says her mom taught her how to sew.  Classes at the high school helped her best understand how to use the machine and make certain things with cloth.

As a nursing student who plans to be in the medical field someday, Ferguson decided to try to help in some capacity after creating a face mask.

She gathered supplies and started gaining community interest on social media for face masks. She decided to donate proceeds from her newfound hobby to a cause close to her heart.

“As more people decided that they wanted masks, I thought I could use the proceeds to go to a good cause and I chose the Animal Welfare Association because I’ve been volunteering there for about five years now,” Ferguson explained.

“I saw that they are currently running a program for families in the community that might not be able to feed their pets throughout [COVID-19],  which I thought was really nice, so I wanted to support them because of that however I could.”

Designs of Ferguson’s face masks can be found at www.sosomaxx.com and on Instagram at @sosomaxxbysophie, with prices ranging between $10 and $13.

As of deadline, Ferguson says she’s made approximately 700 face masks ready to be shipped to buyers across the country. She can make about 50 masks a day.

While there is no way of knowing how long the COVID-19 pandemic will continue, Ferguson plans to keep making masks as long as there is a need.

“We are constantly buying fabric as we get new orders in and we can keep up with the amount of orders we’ve been receiving up until now,” Ferguson said. “And I assume I would like to keep up with this as long as there’s a need for people to wear masks in various places when we go out.”