This year 2020 has been one for the books. It has been fraught with many unexpected twists and turns and a whirlwind of emotion. Despite the many cancelled events, vacations, gatherings, and slew of disappointments we’ve all faced, we have made strides in fighting this COVID pandemic with the rolling out of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine in December 2020. This fight is far from over, but it’s the first glimmer of hope for our world fatigued by COVID.
COVID hit our US borders on January 21, 2020 and quickly our entire nation was soon adapting to a new normal with universal masking, social distancing, frequent hand sanitization and hand washing. Our hospitals in March filled with COVID patients. And frankly, we were unprepared. As we began to see the world deal with a global pandemic and a novel disease we knew very little about, Deyu and myself, mere strangers at the time, decided to take action and deploy much needed PPE to our frontline healthcare workers.
It all started out with an organic grassroots movement and a simple ask to our community. We asked you all to search closets, emergency kits, garages, and attics to find any PPE from coveted N95 masks, gloves, hair covers and goggles to donate to our healthcare heroes fighting this unforeseen pandemic. As the pandemic began to unfold, we were touched by the overwhelming response from companies and individuals who wanted to help. To say we are thankful is an understatement. I remember a story of a young girl who was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for an autoimmune disorder who emailed asking how she could donate the medical grade 3 ply masks she was using to go to the infusion center to protect herself when getting chemotherapy to the frontlines. On the other hand, we have heard heartwarming stories of how your donations have saved healthcare heroes’ lives and have allowed them to continue saving patients fighting COVID.
This pandemic has taught us to never underestimate the strength of the human spirit. Together we are able to bond together as an organization and as strangers united in one common cause. We are proud to announce that in 2020 our organization received nonprofit 501(c)(3) status, and have donated over 3.1 million items of PPE and counting. Plus, we’ve raised over $160,000 to help fund PPE purchases and shipments to areas in need. We cannot thank you enough for your continued generosity and support during this difficult time and hope to continue our efforts in 2021. We are one of many organizations who have been touched by many stories during the COVID pandemic and are beyond blessed and fortunate to be able to continue to give back thanks to all of you.
As hospital supply chains recovered, we have pivoted our PPE distribution efforts to nursing homes, free clinics, schools, food banks, and homeless shelters to name a few. In addition, we have been able to create a book with Madeleine Editions, Guy Gilchrist, Lin Chi Ling, and Denis O’Hare called Monster Dance and collaborate with Guy Gilchrist to create an interactive art project to help children cope with the pandemic called Guy’s Doodles.
We have streamlined our distribution strategies and partnered with other COVID PPE relief groups such as MedSupplyDrive, GetPPE, GetUsPPE, First Responders Children’s Foundation, Charipay, CT PPE Drive, Saving Face to name a few and expanded our distribution network over 50 states and over 400 endpoints domestically. Over the past few months, we’ve been working with Health4TheWorld to ship PPE to underserved regions around the world. Our PPE shipments, including gowns, KN95s, face shields, bouffant caps, and shoe covers have made their way to Uganda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and India. A special shoutout to Flexport who granted us $20,000 to ship pallets of PPE and UPS who have shipped countless of PPE boxes with care to our final destinations.
We thank our team of dedicated volunteers who have volunteered their talents and time to make our PPE donations possible. Thank you for your continued support as we strive to provide PPE to places in need both at home and abroad. Deyu and I hope we can continue to support our communities and frontline workers in need of PPE during this COVID pandemic and continue to do what we are so passionate about and that is helping others and giving back. In Los Angeles and many parts of the nation, it is especially challenging with many hospitals in many states declaring “an internal emergency” and potential need to ration care.
Kevin and I are fighting this pandemic face on and continue to ask the public to stay vigilant and committed to doing their part in washing your hands, wearing a mask, and staying 6 feet from others so that way we can continue to flatten the curb and continue to provide optimal care for those who are in need. Thank you all for your continued support and trust in our organization to fulfill our mission to donate PPE items to frontline workers, healthcare heroes and to our most vulnerable populations. I wish you all a happy and healthy new year and a great start to 2021, hopefully COVID free.
– Dr. Karen Tsai