By Trudy Horsting
Our “Helping Hands” feature series takes an in-depth look at how a few businesses in the marching community have gone above and beyond in their response to the need created by COVID-19. In the second article of this series, we are proud to shine the spotlight on A Wish Come True!
Like all non-essential businesses in Pennsylvania, A Wish Come True (AWCT) had to stop normal production on March 23, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost immediately, they began strategizing on how they could use this time of stillness to help their community; they also wanted to find a way to keep members of their team who couldn’t work from home on the job.
Renée Stojek, AWCT Marketing Director stated, “As an American manufacturer, we knew we had a few responsibilities; to reopen to keep our employees employed and also to find out how we could help our community during this crisis. To accomplish both, we applied for an exemption to reopen as an “essential” business and began researching what we would need to make fabric masks.”
Simply put, AWCT is a creative company who had to find a creative solution. “We are happy to be able to keep all our employees working,” continued Stojek. “Our industry is going to have to be flexible and imaginative to get to our new normal, but we are confident the show will go on.”
A New Product
The transition from uniform to mask manufacturing was quick. Betsy Skaroff, Design Director, conducted swift research on what materials were needed for the masks and generated a pattern for production. Erika Duszny, Product Development Manager, began reaching out to local hospitals to learn their specific needs. With some extra safety precautions—staying 6 feet apart, wearing masks, and taking their temperatures regularly—production began.
The company and its employees are glad their talents afforded them an opportunity to contribute such a critical item during this time. They have been grateful to not only continue working, but to be doing work which so tangibly contributes to the nationwide need.
The team has donated thousands of masks that have been sent to local hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, St Mary’s, Cooper Medical Center, and more. Stojek explained that they will continue to make and donate masks until the needs of all of their local organizations are met.
For those looking for ways to contribute in their community, Stojek urges people to remember, “Every little bit helps, and sometimes just being a positive presence in uncertain times is more than enough.” Thank you, AWCT, for doing that and more!
About the Author
Trudy Horsting is a graduate student at Arizona State University pursuing her PhD in Political Science. She holds a BA in Political Science and a BA in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication from James Madison University. While at JMU, she was a member, and captain for two years, of the Marching Royal Dukes Colorguard and JMU Nuance Winterguard. In 2019, she spun with First Flight World and is currently a member of FeniX Independent World.