Every week for the last two months, volunteers with the Chinese University Alumni Association Alliance of Southern California have been spending their free-time sourcing, packaging and delivering essential medical supplies to hospital frontlines.
It's part of a non-profit campaign, the "Angel – We Care!" donation drive, which has raised over $200,000 for personal protective equipment since March.
The goal is to provide essential medical supplies to hospitals, clinics, healthcare organizations, senior centers, and campuses while also helping to promote the good that the Asian American community is doing in the face of a reported rise in the number of hate crimes and anti-Asian sentiment since he spread of the coronavirus.
"I believe that finally we [can] overcome the virus. We are one great big family sharing the Earth," said Aiping Wang, the former president of CUAAASC who helped get the campaign off the ground. "We do what we can do to help others and deliver love to others."
Founded in 2016, CUAAASC includes 63 chapters representing different Chinese university alumni associations and boasts more than 50,000 alumni in Southern California. At least 20% of its membership is employed in the medical field.
The organization president, Jun Sun, started using WeChat, a popular text-messaging app in China, to spread the word and recruit members.
"Most of us are Chinese Americans, coming as Chinese immigrants," said Dr. Xing Pan, the president of the Peking University Alumni Association of Southern California. "We have seen how bad [COVID-19] was in China and, how our medical staff, the doctors, the nurses were not well prepared or not well protected in China. We're very concerned to hear what is going to happen to our local community, and to the doctors and nurses."
So far, the organization has donated 3,155 N-95 respirators, 66,500 surgical masks, 50,000 medical gloves, 1,656 pieces of coverable suits,1,000 hand sanitizer dispensers, and 100 surgical gowns, said Dr. Hui Su of CUAAASC. The shipments have been distributed to 12 hospitals in California and New York. Sunny Chen, the secretary of CUAASC, hopes that their donation campaign can help raise the level of protection for all doctors from level 2 to level 3, the highest level of protection that can protect frontline doctors from airborne diseases.
CUAAASC is also working with philanthropies such as the Asian Hall of Fame on their COVID-19 Medical Response Fund. They're working to bring more PPE to states such as Washington, Michigan, and Illinois.
"COVID-19 is becoming the leading cause of death in America,” said Maki Hsieh, CEO of the foundation. "Front line workers are in desperate need of medical supplies. Until there's a vaccine, they are risking their lives to save ours."
The healthcare community is thankful.
"I want to sincerely thank you and CUAAASC," wrote Julie Shapda, associate director of development at the USC Verdugo Hill Hospital. "Your donation supports the safety and health of our frontline staff, physicians, and patients as we face the challenges of the COVID-19 process."