High school Interact Club sells masks to help community

Sale proceeds will provide needed items as retirement centers

Members of the WTHS Interact club convened to distribute the first order of TWP face masks.

The Washington Township High School Interact Club has had to discover new ways to fundraise this year due to COVID-19, including selling masks to benefit retirement homes.

“Obviously, this year is a different type of year, so we weren’t able to do our normal fundraisers,” said Shera Jahn, co-advisor for the club. “So we wanted to be able to do a fundraiser that would help the township stay healthy while also giving back to the township.”

The Interact Club is the largest club in the district, with more than 500 students. Its motto is “service over self” and the club gives students the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference in the community. The group hosts several drives during the year.

“Anytime we ask the kids to do something for the community, they jump at the chance to do it because those are the type of kids that they are,” said Kevin MacNamara, co-advisor of the Interact Club.

The Interact Club’s current meetings are much different considering its 500 student members are unable to gather in person. Club staffers are trying to determine exactly how students can come together safely.

During the summer, the 26 students on the club’s executive board came up with an idea to sell township masks, with proceeds used to buy personal care items for local retirement homes. 

The masks were designed and made by Dan Biebel, who creates T-shirts for the school district. Each mask bears a township logo and costs $6. The club sold packs of five for $25 and offered masks sized for kids.  Anyone looking to purchase masks can visit https://townshiptshirtcompany-interactmask.itemorder.com/sale.

“It was really important to have the youth masks too, since the little guys in our township are going to have to wear them in school all day,” Jahn said. “It’s a little harder to find youth masks that fit kids.”

During the first round of sales, the club sold more than 1,000 masks. Once residents began to receive and wear them, demand went up, so the club started a second round of sales that resulted in another thousand masks sold. 

“The kids were involved in the whole process of sorting,” Jahn said. “We also had the presidents doing contactless delivery for the last few masks we had.”

Every year, the Interact Club raises money through sales at football concession stands, but because of COVID, there will be no fans in the bleachers and no lines at concession stands. The pandemic forced the club to consider other ways of serving while complying with safety measures.

The two main events for the club include the 24-hour, January dance-a-thon called Monzo Madness and the Buddy Walk in September. The walk was recently canceled due to COVID, and the dance-a-thon’s gathering of hundreds of students in the school gym isn’t feasible given the pandemic.

“Monzo usually takes place in January, and we are hoping that we can have it then. But we are probably looking at the spring,” said MacNamara. “We are trying to come up with alternate ways because that is a big event, not only for the Interact Club, but the kids here at school also. It has raised a quarter of a million dollars for ALS. We don’t want to give up on that.”

This year, the club wants to find ways to safely help the community. Its older students will record themselves reading stories for kindergarten students to watch remotely. Members will also visit the homes of some senior residents to help with outdoor yard work. The club is trying to determine the safest way to hold its annual blood drive in November.

MacNamara urges anyone within the community who seeks Interact Club  volunteers to contact him or Jahn at sjahn@wtps.org or KMacNamara@wtps.org.