ICE Alum Makes Nonmedical Masks for Macaron Orders
Christina Ha marries her sewing and baking skills to thank customers and healthcare workers.
We're highlighting all the ICE alumni who are inspiring us with their response to the coronavirus crisis' impact on the restaurant industry. At Macaron Parlour and Meow Parlour, Christina Ha (Pastry, ’10/Management, ’11) found inspiration from family members in the medical field for a sweet way to support healthcare providers and essential services.
"After closing down my shops, I felt very restless and also almost useless, like I wasn't doing enough, but as I read more and more stories about our healthcare workers not having access to personal protective equipment (PPE), I knew that was an area where we could help," Christina explains. The founder and head baker at Macaron Parlour in New York City has a sister in medical school and another who works at a research lab. "Even though they aren't N95 masks, they are better than nothing," she explained on Instagram.
She studied haute couture at Maison Sapho School of Dressmaking and Design and earned her associate's degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology before earning a dual diploma in ICE's Pastry & Baking Arts and Restaurant & Culinary Management programs and developed a strategy to incorporate each educational experience to give back. "I know how to sew and how to make adjustments for a better fit. So I decided to start making masks and donate one for every order that has come in since our shops closed. I liked tying the two together because we have received close to 100 orders between Macaron Parlour and Meow Parlour so it was a real number to work towards for me personally."
Christina shared the initiative on Instagram and instantly received support from former employees and customers — one person even mailed her fabric. Her washable cotton face masks include a pocket to fit a surgical mask inside, and she's donating large coffee filters that can be cut to fit alternatively. After sewing the first dozen masks, Christina posted that she'll include some in macaron orders for essential service workers.
"Emotionally, it's a way for me to say thank you to those who have ordered online from us," Christina says. "I shared it online because I also imagine it helps other people who feel like I did initially and aren't able to sew or assist directly with COVID-19 in other ways, so they will know they are supporting both a small business and healthcare workers in a single shot while receiving something delicious."