Company Pledges to Donate 1 Million Masks if Mandatory Mask Ordinance Passes

Rebel Converting wants to make sure everyone has access to masks.

As the Common Council of Milwaukee debates a mandatory mask ordinance, Saukville-based company Rebel Converting ensures that no Milwaukeean will be left maskless, pledging to donate up to 1 million masks if the ordinance passes.

“We fully support Milwaukee legislation to mandate face coverings in public places,” wrote owner Mike Kryshak in a letter to the Common Council and Mayor Tom Barrett. “It’s recommended by health experts, and is the right thing to do.”

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The pledge is meant to support Milwaukee’s low-income residents, who may not be able to afford masks on their own should the ordinance be passed, wrote Kryshak. “We want to make sure that affordability for low-income residents is not a barrier to anyone helping stop the spread of the disease in the community and complying with the requirement. COVID has disproportionately taken its toll on Milwaukee’s poor and communities of color,” he wrote.

Rebel Converting’s pledge includes donating the materials for up to 1 million disposable masks, recruiting volunteers to make these masks, and making the masks free for Milwaukeeans who cannot afford them. Additionally, the company is offering to donate 50,000 pre-packaged “MaskUpMKE envelopes” to be distributed to citizens by law enforcement pending the city’s approval, each containing three masks and a magnet.

Rebel Converting’s primary business is converting giant rolls of advanced nonwoven fabrics into sanitary wipes, but it is also a partner of the MaskUpMKE initiative, which has committed to donating 3.5 million mask kits to Milwaukee. Already, the group has donated nearly 3 million mask kits.

The mandatory mask ordinance, called MKE Cares, is set to be discussed by the Common Council Tuesday. Proposed by Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, the ordinance would make the possession of a face covering mandatory both indoors and outdoors for all Milwaukeeans, with a few exceptions for medical or age-related reasons.

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Jude is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. He is a rising sophomore at Northwestern University studying journalism, gender and sexuality studies and theatre.