Chinese American Group Donates 30K Masks to Arizona Hospitals, Says More to Come

By Jessica Swarner

April 17, 2020

Chinese American COVID-19 Relief AZ has raised enough money to purchase and ship 100,000 medical masks to Arizona hospitals in need. 

Chinese American COVID-19 Relief AZ, a group of about 300 volunteers working to help healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic, has donated thousands of medical masks to the community so far. 

On Friday, the group handed over 10,000 masks to three Valleywise hospitals. Last week, the group provided Banner – University Medical Center Tucson with 5,000 masks and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix with 16,000, with promises of 3,000 more on the way.

Hospitals have been coming up short on the masks they need to help healthcare workers protect themselves and others. Due to an explosion in need for the masks caused by the coronavirus pandemic, employers have been forced to ration supplies and ask workers to rewear some of their equipment when tending to multiple patients. 

The aid group, headed by the Hope Chinese School in Tempe, decided to help by fundraising, starting March 18. They have raised nearly $50,000, and over $75,000 including matching corporate donations. 

“We are calling on members of the community at large to help raise money for the necessary protective gear for medical personnel,” the school’s principal, Lin Tian Hall, said in a press release. “Together, we can really help the doctors and nurses who work selflessly every day to save lives.”

RELATED: Arizona Hospitals Facing ‘Financial Extinction’ Over Coronavirus Overload

A lot of work goes into obtaining and distributing  the masks – volunteers have contacted more than 100 manufacturers in China and hold meetings every night to track their progress. Other volunteers work with local hospitals to determine their need, while others are on hand to work out any legal issues with importing the masks. 

“The volunteers in the group have worked days and nights to find reliable sources for personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the severe shortages across U.S. hospitals,” a Valleywise spokesperson stated in a media advisory. “Flights between China and [the] U.S. have drastically decreased since the flight restrictions. It has to rely on the few shipping options from the major shipping companies.” 

The relief group has said the money it raised is enough to purchase and ship 100,000 medical masks. Volunteers plan to continue donating the supplies for as long as they can.

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  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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