By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
When a local group of Chinese-American residents heard there was a shortage of personal protection equipment for medical professionals in Austin, they organized a donation drive. The group of 45 families in Steiner Ranch started to collect PPE items by express delivery from overseas families and friends and then they donated the items to local medical institutions.
“A group of Chinese American families have taken to help our local doctors and nurses in combating the virus for the past weeks,” said Wenli Zhou, a Steiner Ranch resident.
The drive got started on March 18 when Haimei Zuo posted a message on a WeChat group shared by the Steiner Ranch Chinese American community. She posted that the local ER was in a big shortage of face masks.
Then Gang Zhang said that he could get some face masks from China if anyone was interested in organizing a donation drive.
Another member of the group, Wei Qian, set up a PayPal account and then community families started donating money and their own face masks, and finding more face mask sources.
“Many people said a couple of months ago when our families in China went through the difficult time, many neighbors supported us by finding face masks in the store for us, sending the caring and warm messages to us, and praying for us,” Zhou said. “Now it is our turn to pay back all the kindness and support we got.”
During the process, the Chinese-American group soon realized that the PPE shortage was huge. Additionally, the household collections and small deliveries were very limited in quantity, and it was also hard to ensure the quality, she added.
So the local group of Chinese-Americas changed their strategy and started collecting money donations and then bought more than 10,000 FDA certified surgical masks from overseas factories and shipped them by air to Austin.
By April 4, the group had provided more than 9,000 items to local institutions including hospitals, emergency rooms, senior living facilities and fire stations. Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, Cedar Park Regional Medical Center, Seton Medical Center, Travis County Medical Society, and Longhorn Village are a few of the places that received donations.
“We love our community, and hope to make it even better through our kindness and hard work,” Zhou said. “Together we can defeat the virus!”