MEDIA, Pa. — Meaghan Paige, a women’s fashion brand that got its start at Penn State Brandywine, is supporting the local community by supplying free, handmade face masks during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The company’s founder, Meaghan Daly, is a Penn State graduate who earned her bachelor of arts degree in communication arts and sciences at Brandywine in 2016. She began her company after finding inspiration while traveling to Paris with Brandywine Global Programs during her senior year. Since graduating, Daly has stayed involved with the campus community, most recently by being selected as a Brandywine Boost grant recipient and serving on the Brandywine Alumni Society board.
“The Brandywine campus community has supported me from the get-go,” she said. “From my first Global Programs trip to receiving a grant for my business, Brandywine has continued to show their support. As an alumna, I couldn’t be prouder.”
Now Daly is giving that support back to her community during the global COVID-19 pandemic by offering non-medical, cloth face masks, which can be ordered on her company’s website. The only expense for customers who order a mask is shipping.
“Masks are a necessity and they are actually mandatory in many states,” Daly said. “However, there are a lot of people who may not have access to them for several different reasons. I just want to give back in my own way. Helping my community stay safe and healthy is a big motivator for me.”
As the owner and only employee of the small business, Daly has faced several challenges throughout the project.
"I want to give back in my own way. Helping my community stay safe and healthy is a big motivator for me.”
— Meaghan Daly, Penn State Brandywine alumna
“It has been difficult to find fabric and other materials, especially since stores are closed,” she said. “I’ve had to improvise with elastic, using hairbands instead. I’ve also had to buy cotton bedsheets to replace traditional fabric in the meantime. There is such a high demand for masks right now that I had to stop orders for a week just to catch up. I’ve been sewing nonstop since April 3.”
Daly explained that using her skills and passion to help make a positive difference during the COVID-19 pandemic is well worth the time, financial commitment and effort.
“It feels good to use my skills to fulfill a need,” Daly said. “I’ve received numerous thank-you notes, photos and donations from strangers, friends and relatives who are very grateful they’ve received a mask. It makes me realize how much we all rely on one another.”
Daly isn’t the only member of the Brandywine community who’s supplying fabric masks during the pandemic. Laura Molen, adjunct instructor of human development and family studies, is making cloth masks for her students to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“When the CDC released new guidelines, I had the inspiration to make masks for my students and their families,” said Molen, who enjoys sewing as a hobby. “I wanted them to feel protected and to remain healthy during this crisis. It has been difficult for us to not meet in person, and this felt like a nice way to connect and show my interest in their well-being.”
“The students have been amazingly supportive of one another throughout this difficult time,” she added. “They are just a fabulous group of caring people.”