With COVID-19 decimating communities of color across the nation, particularly Milwaukee, local newspapers will donate advertising space to MaskUpMKE (https://www.maskupmke.org/). To combat the pandemic, many organizations have joined to promote MaskUpMKE, a massive community effort to create and distribute 3.5 million masks to people at greatest risk.
The ads feature Bria Grant, Executive Director of UniteMKE, which train Community Health Workers to address social barriers. Said Grant, “Communities of color have the greatest disparities of underlying chronic conditions which make them vulnerable to COVID-19. Social distancing is a privilege and it’s important that communities of color are protected as they engage in the community to survive.” Walking that talk, UniteMKE has launched a weekly, at home food distribution for people at greatest risk of catching and dying from COVID-19, Feed the Need MKE (http://www.feedtheneedmke.org/).
Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) and Vector Media have also donated 11 bus ads to MaskUpMKE. “We’re proud to help MaskUpMKE spread awareness about the importance of wearing masks and face coverings,” said Kristina Hoffman, MCTS Director of Marketing and Communications. “Bus advertising is an effective way to share this life-saving message with people all across the community — including those who rely on public transportation to get to essential jobs and critical destinations like the grocery store, pharmacy and hospital.”
MaskUpMKE originated from Rebel Converting, a Saukville-based manufacturer of hospital-grade disinfectant wipes. The owner’s son, a recent graduate in engineering and physics, developed a way to convert the same material they use to manufacture hospital-grade disinfectant wipes into a face mask that is similar to a surgical mask. The company has expanded its original donation to make and donate 1 million face mask kits to 3.5 million. To support these efforts, the Milwaukee Bucks have donated the Fiserv Forum as a staging area to receive and distribute the masks. United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha is managing volunteers to assemble the masks. The Medical College of Wisconsin will help direct the assembled masks to areas of greatest need, including healthcare workers, first responders, retirement homes, bus drivers, and even members of the public who are out riding the bus.
Stay safe – #MaskUpMKE!