Chinese American group supplies 100,000 masks to Arizona hospitals

Apr 11, 2020, 12:30 PM

(Banner Health video screenshot)...

(Banner Health video screenshot)

(Banner Health video screenshot)

PHOENIX — Much needed personal protective equipment to fight the coronavirus outbreak is coming as 100,000 masks will be delivered to Arizona hospitals thanks to the fundraising efforts of a Chinese American community.

Chinese American COVID-19 Relief AZ raised nearly $48,400 from 285 donors on a GoFundMe page to buy protective masks for health care workers and others at high risk.

The total amount raised surpassed $75,000 due to companies matching fundraising efforts, according to Susan Liu who organized the fundraiser.

The group of 300 volunteers purchased the level one procedure masks from China.

Banner University Medical Center received 16,000 masks on April 10, while Banner University Medical Center in Tucson got 5,000 masks the day before. Another 3,000 masks will be delivered to the Tucson hospital next week, according to a press release.

“We are thankful to be a recipient of the resourcefulness and generosity of the Chinese-American COVID-19 Relief Organization,” Andy Kramer Petersen, President & CEO of the Banner Health Foundation, said in the release.

Petersen recently told KTAR News 92.3 FM that Banner Health needs 100,000 donations of homemade, “social comfort” face masks to fight the virus to go along with their medical-grade masks, which stood at 50,000 at the time.

The fundraiser was created on behalf of the Arizona Hope Chinese School, an organization that promotes Chinese culture and develops students’ learning abilities in Chinese.

The group reached out to local hospitals to understand the scope of the shortage and gather details about what type of masks were needed to ensure quality and safety.

“Their ability to mobilize, research and make contacts to meet this community need is inspiring,” Petersen said.

Over 100 PPE vendors and distributors in China were contacted by the group to verify Food and Drug Administration certifications.

“As citizens of an international community, we stood in solidarity with those in Asia [earlier this year] who were struggling through the [initial] outbreak of a deadly and unknown virus,” Liu, a member of the Hope Chinese School Board of Directors, said in the release. “As the virus threatens to overwhelm our own homes, the Chinese American community has, without hesitance, thrown our efforts behind local hospitals and the incredible responsibilities they must shoulder.”

Several other hospitals across Arizona will also receive masks from the group, according to the release.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Peter Samore contributed to this report.

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Chinese American group supplies 100,000 masks to Arizona hospitals