Representatives of the Chinese American Federation (CAF) pose for a photo as they deliver donations to a store of Walgreens in Temple City, Los Angeles County, the United States, on April 7, 2020. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Southern California in the Unites States, Chinese Americans who saw Chinese people undergo hardship during the outbreak in China are stepping up to help their American neighbors as well.Photo:Xinhua

As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Southern California in the Unites States, Chinese Americans who saw Chinese people undergo hardship during the outbreak in China are stepping up to help their American neighbors as well.

Local hospitals and first responders in Southern California are all experiencing drastic shortages of key medical supplies, equipment and personnel that are affecting their ability to treat patients and keep their own health workers safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local Chinese American organizations and individuals have responded to the shortages with impressive speed, civic-mindedness, and dedication. Using their extensive personal and professional social networks, they are rapidly sourcing and donating tens of thousands of hard-to-come-by masks and other supplies to hospitals, police departments, firefighters, local city governments, nursing homes, and more.

Representatives of the Chinese American Federation (CAF) pose for a photo as they deliver donations to AHMC Healthcare Inc. in Alhambra City, Los Angeles County, the United States, on April 8, 2020. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Southern California in the Unites States, Chinese Americans who saw Chinese people undergo hardship during the outbreak in China are stepping up to help their American neighbors as well.Photo:Xinhua

Simon Shao, president of the Chinese American Federation, told Xinhua, “We helped China when they needed it and now we are helping the U.S. and our local communities. We need to take a united stand to get through this together.”

The Chinese American Federation, comprising more than 120 Chinese American associations and business coalitions, has donated more than 180,000 masks and other protective equipment to more than 30 medical and first-responder organizations around California.

The federation is also cooperating with various CVS and Walgreen shops in Southern California to distribute free face masks to help local residents in need.

Also pitching in are the Beijing Association USA, Committee of 100, US-China Culture Exchange Association, Chinese American Association, Irvine Chinese American Federation, GanSu Chamber of Commerce USA, US Sichuan Chongqing Chamber of Commerce, to name just a few of the many other Chinese American organizations that have come forward with desperately needed donations and medical supplies to help out in Southern California.

Chinese American volunteers deliver donations to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a senior center for low income seniors in the city of San Pedro, Southern California, the United States, on April 2, 2020. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Southern California in the Unites States, Chinese Americans who saw Chinese people undergo hardship during the outbreak in China are stepping up to help their American neighbors as well.Photo:Xinhua

The US Sichuan Chongqing Chamber of Commerce donated 1,000 N95 masks to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and more to the City of Los Angeles Emergency Operations Center.

“We care about the American people, so when the outbreak happened, we wanted to donate money and supplies to help them,” Phoebe Chen, president of the US Sichuan Chongqing Chamber of Commerce, told Xinhua.

The Beijing Association USA donated 3,300 face masks, 5,500 gloves, as well as disinfectant and other supplies to the City of Industry’s Sheriff’s Station and other first responders, with more donations on the way.

“With doctors and nurses in hospitals across the country facing the growing threat of the lack of adequate personal protective equipment, every single donation could help attenuate the danger felt by medical personnel and first responders,” Hong Li, executive chairwoman of the Beijing Association USA, a Chinese American business and philanthropic organization, told Xinhua.

David Salcedo, a law enforcement officer from the City of Industry’s Sheriff Department, told Xinhua, “Beijing Association USA is constantly partnering up with local law enforcement groups and local governments to help strengthen our resources. This builds trust with local leaders and strengthens our partnerships.”

“It’s one for all and all for one,” Lester Fujimoto, vice president of development and community relations for Beverly Hospital in Montebello, told Xinhua, after receiving cases of donated masks and supplies from the Chinese American Federation for their healthcare workers struggling to contain the COVID-19 threat.

“Therein lies the solidarity that we feel from the Chinese American community — that we are not in this alone. That means a lot to the frontline workers taking care of the ill, who are running toward danger, not away from it,” he said.

Representatives of the Chinese American Federation (CAF) pose for a photo with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva (C) as they deliver donations to the sheriff department in Los Angeles County, the United States, on April 1, 2020. As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Southern California in the Unites States, Chinese Americans who saw Chinese people undergo hardship during the outbreak in China are stepping up to help their American neighbors as well.Photo:Xinhua

Even more touching are the spontaneous outpourings from local Chinese American individuals who felt personally called to action.

Angela Zhang used her WeChat social media group to source, buy and donate 1,000 N95 masks. Kent La, 75, a former community leader, bought 500 N95 masks himself to donate. Grace Cheung, local to the LA area, also donated 300 N95 masks.

Beverly Duan, a young actress and voiceover artist who has worked for Radio Disney and Nickelodeon, first donated her own masks, and then used her Instagram following to ask for additional donations.

When she was just four years old, Beverly worked as a child actor on KSCI-18, a local LA news network, where, as an on-air child spokesperson, she taught other kids how important it was to wash their hands. Sixteen years later, she is doing the same thing — but with much higher stakes.

“We can change the world when we work united,” Duan told Xinhua. “Even in darkness there is hope.”

“These Chinese American donors are real heroes too, because, instead of hoarding, they are unselfishly giving of their own personal resources. They have the vision to see that it’s important to strengthen our first-line personnel,” Officer Salcedo told Xinhua. “We don’t have the option of staying home. With the gear they provide, it gives us another layer of protection,” he said.

The Hermosa Beach Police Department posted a photo of a police officer wearing one of the face masks donated by the Chinese American community in Palos Verdes and Greater South Bay Area on Wednesday and expressed their gratitude to the Chinese American community for their timely donation of 2,000 face masks.

“The men and women at HBPD appreciate your efforts in keeping us safe,” wrote the police department.