Upon hearing the news about the outbreak of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in early January 2020, Loretta Kryshak and Thaddeus, her son, took the threat seriously and got an idea of producing N95 masks using the same material their company, Rebel Converting, uses to make disinfectant wipes. Thaddeus requested Mike, his father, and owner of the company, to turn over Rebel Converting’s production process from manufacturing disinfectant wipes to converting the fabric into N95 facemasks and give them to the residents of Southeast Wisconsin.
After finalizing and proving that the design could work, Rebel Reform searched for volunteers to help in the production and distribution process. As Loretta Kryshak states, the company would take 10-15 hours to produce 700 facemasks and about 90,000 person-hours to make 6000 covers. After finding volunteers, the company needed to find partners to help distribute the masks and increase awareness.
According to Loretta Kryshak, Heather Perkins from Ignite Change, an advertising agency, played a significant role in helping Rebel Converting reach many people and get several partners involved, including the Milwaukee Bucks Fiserv Forum and United Way. These partners mobilized massive pickup and delivery of the facemasks. As a result, Rebel Converting received unending phone calls from individuals who needed the facemask. This high demand encouraged Loretta Kryshak and her partners to launch the #MaskUpMKE social initiative that Ignite Change and Rebel Reform ran. Violet, Loretta Kryshak’s daughter, took charge of the company’s messaging.
Loretta Kryshak adds that they aimed to produce and distribute 3.5 million face masks to Milwaukee residents, but the company donated 4 million masks through the #MaskUpMKE campaign. Kryshak notes that they even met a high-school student who made 10,000 facemasks during the summer holiday. To appreciate the girl, the company sponsored her college education. Loretta Kryshak holds that Rebel Reform will continue supporting organizations fighting against COVID-19 and feeding and uplifting underprivileged families and individuals.