PPE Donation Press Conference at Valley Medical Center
Brian Xu, Reporter Coordinated large-scale donation of PPE by California assembly member Kansen Chu
California Assemblymember Kansen Chu coordinated with over 20 organizations and individuals from around the Bay Area to donate personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Valley Medical Center (VMC) Foundation on April 15. In total, VMC Foundation received 100,000 pairs of vinyl gloves, 70,000 face masks, 400 protective gowns, hand sanitizer and free meals for healthcare workers.
VMC Foundation CEO Chris Wilder accepted the donations on behalf of VMC Foundation, and Santa Clara County Police Chief Laurie Smith also attended the event. Donors included groups like U.S. Hunan Association and BayEcho.
BayEcho is one student-led organization which has helped donate nearly 6,000 face masks as well as hand sanitizer and 3D-printed face shields. Aside from donating and fundraising, BayEcho has also looked for other ways to contribute to COVID-19 relief, working to tutor foster children and helping provide computer power to COVID-19 research. The organization has also developed an online ordering system for farmers at the Creekside Farmers Market to increase customers as well as decrease human contact between farmers and buyers, which has ultimately increased sales for smaller businesses like farmers.
Throughout the PPE donation event, Wilder and Chu emphasized the amount of support that the Asian-American community provided to hospitals during these trying times. Wilder held a box with a label reading “This is painful, but together, we can get through it. God bless America.” With the box in hand, he began to express his gratitude towards local Asian-American groups that have helped to donate many of the VMC Foundation’s PPE supplies. In particular, he believes that existing anti-Asian sentiments regarding COVID-19 are unreasonable and the Bay Area community shows that every day.
“I need to tell you something from my heart, and I want to be a little bit blunt about this,” Wilder said. “I want you to be very clear, anyone who is watching this, who still is calling COVID-19 other than COVID-19 and scapegoating any community having anything to do with this outbreak; I want to tell you something very important: that attitude has absolutely no place here. All week long, all month long, every day, I’ve been signing stacks and stacks of thank you letters. And all week long, every day, most of the letters I’m signing are from people who have a Chinese or Chinese-American or other Asian-American last name.”
Wilder will be hand-signing thank you letters to each donor to express gratitude for their help to first responders and patients of COVID-19. Overall, Chu highlighted that he is touched and appreciative of support from healthcare workers putting in extra effort to help the community. In addition, current social distancing measures have proved successful to Chu, as about 30% of previously estimated beds have been used, allowing hospitals an easier time with supplies and capacity.
“We are all in this together,” Wilder said. “Assembly member Kansen Chu, thank you so much for bringing this community together to help us fight because we will win and we will look back with our heads held high.”