“If you can read this, you’re too close”: Sweatshirt sales help combat coronavirus



Senior Emma Barofsky, right, poses in her self-designed sweatshirts with her sister, Julia Barofsky. Profits from sweatshirt sales were donated to the CDC Foundation.

Madison Beekman

After years of volunteering for a variety of causes chosen by others, Emma Barofsky decided it was time to take charge.

The senior from Ocean used the time she was idled by the coronavirus quarantine to create a sweatshirt with a message she hopes will combat the deadly virus by raising money for the CDC Foundation, a charity established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I thought of the idea in April [2020] and I designed the sweatshirt and the saying on the sweatshirt,” Barofsky said. “And then I think most of my orders went out in May, so I think May is when I made most of the money to give to the CDC.”

The sweatshirts, made by T-Shirts Ink and More, LLC, were blue tie-dye and had the saying, “If you can read this, you’re too close,” embroidered on the front.

“I was brainstorming for a while and I wanted to come up with something that was clever but also something that could prevent the spread of COVID,” Barofsky said on the idea of the saying.

Her main source of promotion came through social media. She had her sisters model the sweatshirt, which she posted on her Instagram story, and her friends and family also helped get the word out by sharing the design on their platforms to reach more people.

This outreach worked, as Barofsky had two sets of orders that went out and a third that was, unfortunately, unable to be completed.

“The first order, I had 44 orders and I made $960, and then the second order was 61 orders and I raised $1,368,” she said. “It
was actually so popular that I wasn’t able to sell [to everyone]. The third order had like 15 people that I wasn’t able to give a sweatshirt to because the sweatshirts sold out, so I wasn’t able to order any more.”

All of the profits went to the CDC Foundation, as aforementioned, which has hundreds of programs that they raise money for. The program that Barofsky donated to allotted money to different groups in order to assist the fight against COVID-19.

Barofsky explained that though the process was hard work, she believes it “paid off and it was really nice to see how everything ended up working out.”

Since this was her first time doing anything like this, where she had to carry out all of the work herself, she explained that it was a learning experience.

“I definitely learned how important it is to be productive with your time,” Barofsky said, “and once you have an idea, to kind of just go with it, even though it may not work, but most likely it will if you’re dedicated.”