The MaskUpMKE initiative has gone national

The MaskUpMKE initiative has gone national.

The #MaskUpMKE challenge is a program sponsored by the United Way of Greater Milaukee and Waukesha County. The original goal was to manufacture one million mask kits to enable people all across the area to make masks in bulk.

Recently, Rebel Converting, the company that has pledged to create mask making kits, upped their production to meet nationwide demand. Their commitment has more than tripled, bringing the new goal to 3.5 million masks. Each kit has enough materials to create 700 masks, so there’s plenty of work to be done.

While these kits are designed to be created by individuals in their own homes, others have stepped in to help. Shoemaker Allen Edmonds and Harken, a manufacturer of boat hardware and accessories, have stepped in to create up to 20,000 masks a day, to take pressure off individual volunteers to produce a majority of them.

The energy and enthusiasm of the #MaskUpMKE challenge has caught the attention of Nordstrom, one of the largest department store chains in the nation. Nordstrom has agreed to manufacture one million masks of their own to support the effort. Rebel Converting has manufactured mask straps, and Nordstrom’s tailors have been sewing it all together.

It’s clear that the effort put into this initiative will help in the fight against COVID-19, but this fight is far from over. During a time when many of us are feeling trapped at home, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wondering what volunteers think about the initiative? This is what one had to say:

“I wanted to do something that I knew would make a direct impact on many people. I had tried sewing masks but they just weren’t turning out. It felt so great when I finished making 700 masks! When I saw all the people wearing these masks on the buses, at the shelters, in food pantries, and healthcare facilities, I knew it was important work. A huge thank you to the company and other groups that made this happen and helped in the way they could!” - Jackie Magennis.

Please consider joining the initiative to make an enormous difference in the lives of healthcare workers as well as community members who need these masks! Every mask counts.

Let’s #MaskUpMKE!

If you want to help, or know someone who can, you can find more information here.