CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chinese Americans say masks are a part of their culture, saying they wear them for almost any illness, even for allergies, so hearing that there was a shortage of personal protective gear (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers, a local group of Chinese Americans combined their personal stashes. Wednesday, they donated the sum to Atrium Health’s CMC Main.
“I had experience in SARS back in 2003, I was visiting my family in China, so I got locked down in Bejing," said Faye Liu, who lives in Charlotte with her husband and young son.
Liu says when news of the COVID-19 outbreak in China began circulating back in January, she jumped into action taking preventive measures to protect her family, for if-or-when the virus hit the U.S.
“I just went on Amazon, they were selling the N95 masks and also the regular masks," she said. "I just bought them both."
When COVID-19 did make its way to the U.S., Liu says she was surprised to hear the US government wasn’t as proactive and had shortages of PPE, including N95 masks for frontline workers.
So that’s when Liu says she picked up the phone and began reaching out to others in the Chinese American community living in Charlotte.
“Apparently not just me, a lot of us did the same thing,” she said.
So together, Liu and 15 other local Chinese Americans collectively donated more than 200 masks and 100 non-latex PPE gloves. Wednesday, Liu brought them to the staff at Atrium Health.
“I just feel like this is part of something little that Chinese Americans can do to help out,” Liu said.
As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to take lives, many Asian Americans have been fearing for theirs — not because of the virus, but because of hate.
From awful messages to physical attacks, many Asian Americans say they’ve been the target of hate crimes. President Trump in March, referred to COVID-19, as the Chinese virus, which critics quickly condemned.
But more than a donation, Liu says she’s hoping this act of kindness sends a message, that no matter your race, we’re all in this together.
“Rather than being in fear of the hate crimes going on, I’d rather go out and do good things for the community to prove to show that we’re the same as everybody else," she said. "We’re kind, we’re here to help, so lets all work together."
Have some items you’d like to donate?
Atrium Health says they’ve been receiving so many donations, they’re working to set-up a designated drop-off site. They’re asking that you email firstname.lastname@example.org first, and not put yourself at risk by just showing up. For more on how to donate to Atrium click here.
Novant Health says any vendor or supplier interested in donating supplies should email donatesupplies@NovantHealth.org, where they will be contacted about the next steps. They ask that donations be unopened and in original packaging.
“Novant Health is humbled by the outpouring of support from our community in our fight against the coronavirus outbreak,” said spokesperson, Robin Baltimore.
Baltimore says in response to the growing number of businesses and community members reaching out to help, Novant Health is accepting critically needed medical supplies like masks, eye shields and disinfectants.
She says Novant Health is also gratefully accepting donations of financial gifts, blood donations and nonmedical supplies to ensure that team members can continue to safely provide care for patients.
“There are several ways community members can contribute and no contribution is too small,” Baltimore said. “While we currently do not have a need for homemade masks, we are open to accepting them in case the need does arise.”
The Novant team has put together instructions in response to community members looking for guidance on how to make effective masks. Those can be found here.
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