MANALAPAN — How did you spend your summer vacation? For a group of four friends, they have been busy selling masks in their community and donating the proceeds to charity.

The girls call it Masks4Miracles, and so far they've sold more than 600 masks, raising $3,000 for the Freehold Area Open Door Food Pantry and the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund.

Chelsea Geller, 13, first came up with the idea of starting a business as a way to pass the time she would have usually spent at sleepaway camp. She then called on Ava Bataglio, 13, Ilana Kasner, 12, and Mollie Saftlas, 13, to bring the idea to life.

"We had a lot of different ideas of what our business should be, but we picked masks because people need them because of COVID, and we could help people be safe and look good at the same time," Geller said.

Through a series of meetings on FaceTime and elsewhere, these friends worked out their differences of opinion and settled on a plan that worked for all of them.

"I remember Chelsea and I were trying to pick a name, and we went through so many lists of names, trying to find something that flowed and it was just really funny," Bataglio said.

Saftlas said that the work the group has done so far is, in part, helping to satisfy a 25-hour community service requirement for the National Junior Honor Society.

And because none of these young ladies are old enough to drive, their parents have played a huge role in not only helping them promote their mask sales, but also distribute the goods.

"All our hard work, we couldn't do (without parents) because we learned it from our parents, and our moms, so it was really great that they were involved in helping," Kasner said.

Kasner said the business is still booming. She cited the example of one person who bought one mask then later asked the group for six more. But each of these diligent students will soon have to focus on returning to school, whatever that entails in this new, socially-distanced world.

And as each of the girls is not only preparing to enter high school in the next year or two, but is also heavily involved in extracurricular activities, Masks4Miracles may become more of a side project than an everyday task.

"If we were to continue, we would have to change things up," Saftlas said. "Like, we may not be able to sell as many masks."

More or fewer masks, this idea and this group have already made their marks on the community.

Check them out on Instagram @masks4miracles or contact masks4miracles@gmail.com.

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