In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fiserv Forum is serving as a distribution site for 2.5 million non-surgical face masks as part of MaskUpMKE, a local initiative benefiting the medical and nonprofit community. The Bucks opened Fiserv Forum to house the growing supply of kits and to speed up the delivery of face coverings in the community.
Along with Fiserv Forum and the Bucks, the organizations involved in MaskUpMKE are: Rebel Converting, Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Zilber Family Foundation, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity.
Rebel Converting, a Saukville-based manufacturer of hospital-grade disinfectant wipes, is making and donating the face coverings. The first of three semi-loads of kits were delivered to Fiserv Forum on Wednesday, April 22. Approximately 3,500 kits containing materials to make a total of 2.5 million face coverings will be brought to the arena.
“The Bucks and Fiserv Forum are dedicated to doing our part to keep the community strong and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Bucks Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Arvind Gopalratnam. “We are pleased to be part of the important MaskUpMKE initiative with Rebel Converting, Medical College of Wisconsin and so many generous and knowledgeable local organizations.”
In addition to the 2.5 million face coverings that are being brought to the arena, Rebel Converting previously made and donated an additional million for the community. This makes for a total of 3.5 million face coverings in order to address the growing need for personal protective equipment.
“Rebel Converting is proud to be producing 3.5 million face mask kits for our community, and we are excited to receive this substantial commitment from the Bucks and Fiserv Forum to help us to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Rebel Converting Owner Mike Kryshak. “We are looking forward to working with the Bucks and Fiserv Forum to help us distribute these mask kits and get them into the hands of our local health care heroes and community workers in the metro Milwaukee area.”
Healthy individuals are invited to visit United Way’s MaskUpMKE site to sign up for a volunteer shift and schedule a time to drive by the Fiserv Forum loading dock to pick up a box of face covering kits to take home for assembly. The pick-up times take place daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the next two weeks beginning on Saturday, April 25.
Kits contain instructions and materials to make 700 face coverings. Each face covering takes approximately one to two minutes to assemble. Volunteers will return their boxes to Fiserv Forum upon completion.
Before and after completion, volunteers will answer questions to ensure they are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, among other precautions. MCW has been involved in MaskUpMKE to advise on the public health aspects of the entire project.
After a 72-hour quarantine period, the face coverings will be distributed to the community under the guidance of MCW. Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity will also assist in the physical distribution to those most at risk of contracting COVID-19.
“The Medical College of Wisconsin stands behind its commitment to the community now in one of its greatest times of need,” said Christopher Davis, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Trauma/Acute Care Surgery, at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “In collaboration with the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Institute for the Transformation of Medical Education, many MCW staff and students have worked tirelessly to spearhead the production and delivery of nearly 250,000 non-surgical masks to community health clinics, essential workers, and nearly 100 local social service agencies. As recommended by the CDC, these non-surgical masks act as face coverings to help prevent the spread of virus from people speaking, coughing or sneezing who might not even know they are infected. Face coverings are for wearing when performing essential tasks away from home and are not a substitute for staying home as much as possible, keeping six feet away from others, and frequent hand washing.”
Community organizations in need of face coverings can submit a request by visiting https://www.maskupmke.org/request.html.