20,000 Face Masks and Counting Have Been Crowdsourced by a Milwaukee Startup

This try-before-you-buy retail business is now distributing donated face masks at no cost.

The growing number of COVID-19 cases across the state of Wisconsin has local hospitals, first responders, homeless shelters and organizations in need of masks. In just one week, Wantable, Inc., the local try-before-you-buy retail business, has crowdsourced around 20,000 face masks to those in need since launching last Tuesday, March 24.

“Every day the need gets greater and greater. We thought this would just be something to help out the Milwaukee area and those in Wisconsin. We’ve now had organizations across the nation now reaching out,” said Abigail Gilman, Director of Acquisition and Brand Activation.

The process of obtaining masks for your organization is quite simple. After contacting Wantable, you’re put on a list. Each day the fulfillment center receives masks from the various heart-filled volunteers across the nation. The masks that come in will go out to organizations the same day. For example, if a clinic requests 100 masks, but the fulfillment center can only provide 80 for the day, they will ship that part of the order. The remainder of the order will be sent the following day when more masks are available.

This process of receiving and distributing will continue as long as the need is there.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” Gilman said.

Right now, the goal is set to receive and distribute 100,000 face masks, but with the recent recommendations that number may be significantly surpassed in attempts to flatten the curve.

Wantable has already distributed every mask they’ve received thus far. This includes locations such as Hebron Housing Services with three shelters in Waukesha as well as a 16th street clinic, just to name a couple.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer of the Sew Good initiative from the comfort of your home, find the guidelines here. Reach out to sewgood@wantable.com if you are a medical center or organization in need of face masks.



Morgan is a 2020 MilMag intern. She's Minnesota born, but has a Milwaukee heart. An Alverno College undergraduate and will be graduating in December 2020 . Follow her on social media @morgan_lemner