Graham Kilmer

Help Sew Masks for Healthcare Workers

Wantable is using its expertise to crowdsource masks for those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By - Mar 27th, 2020 04:53 pm
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Gee Gee Jannene sews a mask. Photo by Dean Jannene.

Gee Gee Jannene sews a mask. Photo by Dean Jannene.

Milwaukee-based Wantable, an internet-based lifestyle service, is putting its logistics network to use during the COVID-19 pandemic to supply healthcare workers with much-needed face masks.

The company is soliciting hobbyists and professional sewers to produce home-made face masks for frontline healthcare workers as part of its “Sew Good” campaign.

If you know how to sew and have access to a machine and 100 percent cotton fabric, you can get involved. Here’s how it works: Sewers register on the Sew Good website and indicate how many masks they can make and how fast. The company will mail the sewer a pre-paid postage label. Sewers put the masks in a box or envelope and send them back to Wantable. Then, the company will distribute the masks to healthcare clinics and hospitals.

These masks won’t be medical grade. But, as has been widely reported, supplies of N95-certified masks and surgical masks are running low all over the country. And when those supplies run out, these masks will give healthcare workers a stash of backups. They are “a stopgap measure,” said Jalem Getz, president and CEO of Wantable.

Getz said the idea came to his team last Saturday. After watching the pandemic unfold in their community, they decided they wanted to get involved. Wantable, Getz said, is a relationship logistics company. Already, 95 percent of the boxes they ship come back to them. “We process high volumes of small orders,” Getz said. So, they turned their fulfillment center into a distribution center for face masks.

Getz noted that the best way everyone can volunteer right now is to stay home. So this allows “people from the comfort of their own home to make a difference.”

Wantable launched the program Tuesday and already has commitments to make 14,000 masks. The first box of masks showed up Friday. The goal is to source 100,000 masks.

Already, Wantable has customers all over the country that are making masks. Many of them, Getz said, are in the Milwaukee area. Right now there are over 400 people that have committed to sewing masks.

Getz said there seems to be large interest in helping combat the pandemic, but that’s hard to do from your home. “We’ve applied our technology and our system to help in the effort.”

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More about the Coronavirus Pandemic

2 thoughts on “Help Sew Masks for Healthcare Workers”

  1. Duane says:

    I know these articles are well intentioned but the 900 pound gorilla in the room is our corporately managed (and censored) trade policy. From an AP article about one week ago…..

    The critical shortage of medical supplies across the U.S., including testing swabs, protective masks, surgical gowns and hand sanitizer, can be tied to a sudden drop in imports, mostly from China, The Associated Press has found…The United States counts on receiving the vast majority of its medical supplies from China, where the coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people and killed more than 3,200. When Chinese medical supply factories began coming back on line last month, their first priority was their own hospitals.

  2. brthompson says:

    Please mention a critical fact as to these masks. Will Wantable DONATE them, or sell them?

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