Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors combine for huge numbers in Northeast Wisconsin

Volunteers exceed 140,000 masks donated
Posted at 11:00 PM, Apr 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 21:46:23-04

GREEN BAY, Wis. (NBC 26) -- "We're doing all of this as a tangible, physical manifestation of love of community," according to Jennifer Cardell, state coordinator for Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors.

That's what drove her to lead nearly six thousand volunteers in their Facebook group, with home sewers and volunteers scattered across the state.

Liz Benecke, a nurse, initially posted a call to action on social media in search of masks for family in friends. Over the past month, her efforts have grown to coordinating the mask donations across 11 counties in Northeast Wisconsin.

"I started asking questions 30 days ago on Friday," Benecke said. "I had put a shoutout on Facebook at 8 p.m., and by Sunday at 8 p.m., I had 400 orders totaling greater than 100,000 [masks]."

As orders and donations grew, Benecke has moved her volunteer work to donated building space in Green Bay that is better to handle the workload of fulfilling mask orders for area hospitals and industrial companies as well as local families and individuals.

"Seeing the power of what we're doing at a local level and just the outpouring of community support like every day, that warms my heart," Amber Barnes, Benecke's social media coordinator said.

With recent spikes of COVID-19 cases in Brown County, Benecke opens her arms to anyone looking to pitch in.

"You can drive for us, you can make bias tape, you can be on one of our call teams, you can be on our social media team," Benecke said. "There are hundreds of ways to be involved in this organization if you don't sew. But if you do sew, we need you!"

On Saturday, Benecke's region officially hit 144,474 masks donated. Benecke's data shows that their highest daily output exceeded 25,000 masks donated, and they average 200 deliveries a day.