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Face Mask Warriors try to meet northeast Wisconsin's demand

face masks
Posted at 7:42 PM, Apr 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-02 20:42:56-04

GREEN BAY, Wis — (NBC 26) -- The need for more face masks continues to be a major concern for many across Wisconsin. On Thursday, the Trump Administration was formalizing new recommendations for most, if not all of the public, to wear face masks when going outside. In Wisconsin, many organizations are starting to focus on providing more masks to healthcare workers and first responders.

The grassroots organization known as the Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors continues trying to meet the needs of northeast Wisconsin's first responders and health care workers.
Just off of the 1700 block of Velp Avenue in Green Bay, Liz Benecke of the Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors organization is preparing for a busy, foreseeable future at her Brown county headquarters.

"We are at 100,000 thousand mask orders currently. A little bit over that actually."

Benecke, a health care worker herself, currently has over 500 volunteers making masks to keep up with the demand. The volunteers include people willing to buy and cut the fabric, sew the masks together, and then deliver them to healthcare workers for free. But right now the organization is having a tough time keeping up with the demand.

"Their facilities are telling them that if they wish to have a mask on their face when they are at work, they have to provide it on their own. There is a level of panic at this point," says Benecke.

Benecke, says nearly 30-thousand masks are needed immediately because, within just 72 hours, those healthcare workers in need fear their facilities will be completely out of the protective gear.

"When I had those nurses lined up outside my facility it was very sobering to see the need and see the actual fear that those people are experiencing."

So far, volunteers have cranked out nearly 7-thousand of the masks. But with the worry that COVID-19 will get worse before it gets better, Benecke is calling on the community now.

"If you know how to sew please help us sew. If you have a machine you're not using and you're willing to lend it to someone who doesn't have a machine that can sew, please do so. I can get it into the hands of somebody who needs it, or can utilize it for our project."

The Wisconsin Face Mask Warriors, zone 4, represents 12 counties across northeastern Wisconsin. Nearly each of the zones is currently in need of donations of 100 percent cotton fabric, baby wipes, elastic and so much more.

You can check out their current needs on their Facebook page.