News

Chinese American community raises thousands to purchase 50K masks for medical facilities

Campaign aims to supply masks where they're needed most and to underserved communities

In a massive effort to ease the strain on local health care providers, members of Palo Alto's Chinese American community are raising funds and purchasing thousands of masks for hospitals, first responders and senior care facilities.

The community as of Thursday has donated more than 50,000 masks, including surgical masks and KN95 or N95 masks, to local hospitals, senior centers, grocery stores, post offices and neighbors through individual or self-organized group efforts, said Debra Cen, co-founder and board member of Palo Alto-based nonprofit WizChinese.

The effort reflects their dedication to their adopted country and a strong commitment to making beneficial contributions to American society, they said.

In one effort spearheaded by Jennifer Liu and Carol Wu, about 230 people donated nearly $15,000 to purchase 300 unopened boxes of Level 2 surgical masks, close to 15,000 masks in total, Liu said. They initiated the campaign after hearing a plea for personal protective equipment, or PPE, from a Stanford hospital employee and collected the funds in less than 10 days.

The group used the popular Chinese social networking site WeChat to promote the campaign. All of the masks were quickly distributed to organizations in need, including Stanford Hospital, Palo Alto Medical Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; University of California, San Francisco; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center; ANX Home Healthcare and Hospice; Stevenson House; Lytton Gardens, the Palo Alto Fire Department; Care Indeed; Project WeHope's homeless shelter; local seniors; and others, she said.

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"We have been wanting to contribute more to society. We are from China but we are Americans. We feel America is our home and we want to do our best to make America better. We want to make our society better," she said.

Liu said that the Chinese American community has been organizing for some time and they are offering help wherever there is a need. In March, the group also distributed food to homebound seniors.

The Palo Alto Chinese Parents Club, which since 2014 has operated under WizChinese, has also hosted a Chinese New Year Fair for the past four years. The event raises cultural awareness and also donates $7,000 annually to Palo Alto Unified School District to support students. When news of the first U.S. cases of COVID-19 came to light in late January, the group canceled its Feb. 16 event, which typically draws thousands of people.

WizChinese launched a fundraising effort on inKynd with a goal of raising $14,000, Cen said. The fundraising effort began in February, initially to support doctors and nurses in Wuhan, China who were fighting the virus where it first broke out.

"With the fast recovery of Wuhan from the pandemic and the urgent need of masks in our community, WizChinese repurposed the fund to purchase masks from China to donate to our community. In addition, WizChinese also encouraged the Chinese community to donate masks directly to their neighbors or through WizChinese for distributing to our community. So far, over 4,500 surgical masks and 800 KN-95 masks (a total value of $4,338) have been donated by WizChinese to Ravenswood Family Health Center, Palo Alto University Rotary Club, PAUSD and community members," she said in an email on Thursday.

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Donors have three ways to give: donate cash; sell goods, services or professional experience that are purchased by other donors for cash to the campaign; or add a "wish list" item they'd like to purchase. When another donor makes the "wish list" item available on the website, the first donor can "buy" it with money that goes to the campaign. People have thus far dominated everything from gift cards to silk pajamas to tips on building an accessory dwelling unit.

Cen said all residents are invited to join their fundraising efforts.

"This campaign is a great way to bring people in our community together. Also, this campaign is different from all other campaigns since it allows people to contribute through selling or buying on the inKynd market, so it (allows) anyone and everyone … to contribute," she said.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Chinese American community raises thousands to purchase 50K masks for medical facilities

Campaign aims to supply masks where they're needed most and to underserved communities

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Apr 18, 2020, 9:06 am

In a massive effort to ease the strain on local health care providers, members of Palo Alto's Chinese American community are raising funds and purchasing thousands of masks for hospitals, first responders and senior care facilities.

The community as of Thursday has donated more than 50,000 masks, including surgical masks and KN95 or N95 masks, to local hospitals, senior centers, grocery stores, post offices and neighbors through individual or self-organized group efforts, said Debra Cen, co-founder and board member of Palo Alto-based nonprofit WizChinese.

The effort reflects their dedication to their adopted country and a strong commitment to making beneficial contributions to American society, they said.

In one effort spearheaded by Jennifer Liu and Carol Wu, about 230 people donated nearly $15,000 to purchase 300 unopened boxes of Level 2 surgical masks, close to 15,000 masks in total, Liu said. They initiated the campaign after hearing a plea for personal protective equipment, or PPE, from a Stanford hospital employee and collected the funds in less than 10 days.

The group used the popular Chinese social networking site WeChat to promote the campaign. All of the masks were quickly distributed to organizations in need, including Stanford Hospital, Palo Alto Medical Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; University of California, San Francisco; Santa Clara Valley Medical Center; ANX Home Healthcare and Hospice; Stevenson House; Lytton Gardens, the Palo Alto Fire Department; Care Indeed; Project WeHope's homeless shelter; local seniors; and others, she said.

"We have been wanting to contribute more to society. We are from China but we are Americans. We feel America is our home and we want to do our best to make America better. We want to make our society better," she said.

Liu said that the Chinese American community has been organizing for some time and they are offering help wherever there is a need. In March, the group also distributed food to homebound seniors.

The Palo Alto Chinese Parents Club, which since 2014 has operated under WizChinese, has also hosted a Chinese New Year Fair for the past four years. The event raises cultural awareness and also donates $7,000 annually to Palo Alto Unified School District to support students. When news of the first U.S. cases of COVID-19 came to light in late January, the group canceled its Feb. 16 event, which typically draws thousands of people.

WizChinese launched a fundraising effort on inKynd with a goal of raising $14,000, Cen said. The fundraising effort began in February, initially to support doctors and nurses in Wuhan, China who were fighting the virus where it first broke out.

"With the fast recovery of Wuhan from the pandemic and the urgent need of masks in our community, WizChinese repurposed the fund to purchase masks from China to donate to our community. In addition, WizChinese also encouraged the Chinese community to donate masks directly to their neighbors or through WizChinese for distributing to our community. So far, over 4,500 surgical masks and 800 KN-95 masks (a total value of $4,338) have been donated by WizChinese to Ravenswood Family Health Center, Palo Alto University Rotary Club, PAUSD and community members," she said in an email on Thursday.

Donors have three ways to give: donate cash; sell goods, services or professional experience that are purchased by other donors for cash to the campaign; or add a "wish list" item they'd like to purchase. When another donor makes the "wish list" item available on the website, the first donor can "buy" it with money that goes to the campaign. People have thus far dominated everything from gift cards to silk pajamas to tips on building an accessory dwelling unit.

Cen said all residents are invited to join their fundraising efforts.

"This campaign is a great way to bring people in our community together. Also, this campaign is different from all other campaigns since it allows people to contribute through selling or buying on the inKynd market, so it (allows) anyone and everyone … to contribute," she said.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Christie
Barron Park
on Apr 18, 2020 at 7:47 pm
Christie, Barron Park
on Apr 18, 2020 at 7:47 pm
27 people like this

inKynd is a for-profit company/platform owned by Debra Cen and Jennifer Liu is one of its investors. Since inKynd is mentioned multiple times in the article, it would be nice to mention the above.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Apr 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Apr 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm
9 people like this

As the Yamamoto debate demonstrated the Chinese Community is pretty diverse.
Donating $14,000 of PPE is still utilitarian even if there is also a profit motive.
Thanks, Chinese Community!


Follow The Dollar
Crescent Park
on Apr 19, 2020 at 8:59 am
Follow The Dollar, Crescent Park
on Apr 19, 2020 at 8:59 am
1 person likes this

QUOTE: "Donating $14,000 of PPE is still utilitarian even if there is also a profit motive."

Curious...are these masks manufactured in China or the USA/elsewhere?

There was a news report that China is in major production mode churning out masks for the global public. Big money.


rocks
Fairmeadow
on Apr 19, 2020 at 9:03 am
rocks, Fairmeadow
on Apr 19, 2020 at 9:03 am
3 people like this

Noble deed, indeed. But I question the entities that rcvd these PPEs. Stanford,Kaiser El Camino hospital? [Portion removed.]


PA universalist
Crescent Park
on Apr 19, 2020 at 10:09 am
PA universalist, Crescent Park
on Apr 19, 2020 at 10:09 am
14 people like this

The local Indian American community has also quietly sourced thousands in donations and PPE gear for our brave healthcare workers. Similar drives by the Jewish community, local Churches and non-denominational groups are also ongoing and deserve recognition.

Thanks to the Chinese American community for stepping up.

Would be nice to see mention of the wider initiatives not just focus on one ethnic, religious or other sub-group.


resident
Downtown North
on Apr 19, 2020 at 11:26 am
resident, Downtown North
on Apr 19, 2020 at 11:26 am
16 people like this

I am sure that Chinese-American charity is getting more publicity with all the anti-Chinese racism going on. Other groups should be happy they can do their work without the negativity being attached to it.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2020 at 1:01 pm
3 people like this

It is wonderful that a group of Palo Altans has raised money for these needed supplies. Does it really matter about their ethnicity? Would it be newsworthy if a different ethnic group had raised the money?

Why does everything newsworthy have to have race attached? They are people doing a wonderful thing. That's the news here.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Apr 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Apr 19, 2020 at 2:48 pm
1 person likes this

Reminds me of “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell


Anonymous
Midtown
on Apr 19, 2020 at 9:35 pm
Anonymous, Midtown
on Apr 19, 2020 at 9:35 pm
8 people like this

As mentioned by others, it is unnecessary to mention the ethnicity. That arouses suspicion of multiple agendas (article author, donors, etc). Be balanced. Just mention the initiative without identity politics.
And candidly, it's not a "massive" amount by many yardsticks. Avoiding hype will be nice too.


Angela Wong
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2020 at 11:56 am
Angela Wong, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2020 at 11:56 am
8 people like this

Thank you WizChinese and the Palo Alto Chinese Community for the thousands of masks that you have donated to Palo Alto Medical Foundation. We truly appreciate your generosity. Thank you for taking care of us!


Angela F
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2020 at 12:57 pm
Angela F, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 20, 2020 at 12:57 pm
4 people like this

Thank you very much for the generous donation of face masks to the Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Clara! Your quick response and organization is truly inspiring. Your kindness is greatly appreciated.


DuvMom
Crescent Park
on Apr 20, 2020 at 6:46 pm
DuvMom, Crescent Park
on Apr 20, 2020 at 6:46 pm
4 people like this

Why did the author include known Chinese propaganda in Paragraph 10. “With the fast recovery of the Wuhan Pandemic...” I recommend distancing self from the Chinese Government. All donations and acts of kindness are appreciated.


Keri
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 20, 2020 at 11:42 pm
Keri, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 20, 2020 at 11:42 pm
2 people like this

Thank you to Debra, Lily, Jennifer, and Carol for their leadership in this effort! Thanks to all community member who participated and donated!


Resident
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2020 at 12:53 am
Resident, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 25, 2020 at 12:53 am
2 people like this

[Post removed.]


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