You Can’t Mask the Good

Eastern Alumnus Sophie Ferguson provides community with safety and security.

Sophie+Ferguson+took+fashion+at+Eastern.+Now+a+nursing+student%2C+she+has+taken+her+skills+to+protect+those+on+the+front+lines.

Sophie Ferguson

Sophie Ferguson took fashion at Eastern. Now a nursing student, she has taken her skills to protect those on the front lines.

By Victoria Lapinson, Eastern Regional High School

For college freshman Sophie Ferguson, Eastern Class of ‘19, it’s a project of passion. “I never thought I would be at the center of something so big,” she said. The sound of machinery humming buzzed in the background of the virtual interview.

The team was hard at work.

The scramble for facial protection has been tense. NJ Governor Murphy mandated that masks are to be worn in public spaces. And health care professionals had been suffering a shortage already.

And that’s when Sophie Fergusion stepped in.

She has been producing and selling regulation-safe masks to battle COVID-19. Her newly established mask making gig is a means of helping others in the face of one of the most unprecedented tragedies of the twenty-first century.

The Coronavirus pandemic has the globe gripped with fear, and with new guidelines being set every hour, it is more important than ever to stay informed and safe. Right now, as of April 22nd, the New Jersey death toll stands at 4,753, with 98,327 cases reported. In Camden County, there have been 86 total fatalities due to COVID-19.

Sophie is a nursing student at Jefferson University. Knowing the hardship of her career field breaks her heart. “I wanted to do something,” Ferguson said.

When the CDC provided information about how to construct quality masks and the materials required, inspiration seized the wheel. “I thought to myself,” she said. “I took fashion in high school. Why not rev up the sewing machine?”

The grind for masks began and evolved slowly from friends and family to strangers and community members. That’s when the name, SoSoMaxx, took off. A fully developed website came to fruition, and word of mouth carried these vital devices to customers of all backgrounds.

But Ferguson wanted to do more.

“I couldn’t help but think of the shelters! All of the animals who probably can’t get much help right now…they need support too,” the 19-year-old founder said. Her compulsion to help others would lead to additional support for the Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, NJ. A volunteer from a young age, Sophie Ferguson said giving support from the masks to this trustworthy organization was “a total no-brainer”.

With herself and the people in quarantine with her, the SoSoMaxx crew works around the clock to meet the needs of the community. As it is due, medical personnel and first responders get priority in receiving masks. They take a great number of orders every day, and manufacture dozens of custom masks. From Eagles patterns to added rhinestones, these masks are stylish and effective.

She takes quality very seriously. “We encourage everyone, with our masks or others to test them with a flame,” she said. “You hold a small candle out and try to blow it out through the mask. If it’s good, the candle won’t go out.” Website videos show satisfied patrons doing this “flame test” with their masks.

Distribution of the product might seem tricky, but the SoSoMaxx team has it down. The company has two options: shipping and pickup. “If you want it shipped,” Ferguson said, “you can also get them rushed. We drop those completed orders off at the post office daily. For pickup, we leave the package on the porch during specific time slots to ensure social distancing.”

With her rigorous college courses moved online, Ferguson admits time management has become a slight personal struggle, but the benefits to the community greatly outweigh the hassle. She sees herself continuing this very selfless project for as long as the community requires the support.

Needless to say, who can mask Sophie Ferguson’s giving nature?

This story was originally published on The Voyager on April 22, 2020.