MILLBURN, NJ — When the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit Millburn back in March, one of the first groups that stepped up to help was the Millburn/Short Hills Chinese Association (MSHCA). The group started with a donation of 3,000 surgical masks for first responders in town, as well as monetary help, gift cards and cash.

RELATED: Millburn/Short Hills First Aid Squad Receives Gift of Masks From Local Chinese Community

Now, more than three months into the pandemic, and the MSHCA is still hard at work, purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals, healthcare facilities, local emergency responding agencies, nursing homes and other private institutions that have all reached out to the group for help.

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A majority of the money to purchase the PPE came from the Millburn Coronavirus Community Peer Support Fund, which is run by the MSHCA, and has so far collected $71,877 from more than 300 Millburn/Short Hills families, and other donors.

As of press time, the group has distributed 15,200 surgical masks, 6,830 N95 masks and 2,883 coverall gowns to 39 total organizations in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

In addition to their efforts of PPE donation, MSHCA also worked to protect their neighbors, since commercial face masks were in short supply at one point.  

The story began when the families of James Liu & Zhen Cheng started to share 2,700 masks they had acquired from friends in China. It quickly spread into grassroots efforts from dozens of local Chinese American residents to pool together over 1,000 non-medical masks for their Millburn neighbors in need. Additional 2,000 masks were donated by Antidote Health Foundation for Cure of Cancer to support this initiative.

MSHCA distributed the masks after inquiries on Nextdoor and Facebook posts. More than 40 Millburn/Short Hills residents volunteered to help with distribution.

In a three-week period from the end of March to mid-April, 5,060 masks were delivered to the doorsteps of 407 Millburn households,. Some of the residents helped by the donation were patients undergoing cancer treatment, seniors covering their mouths with scarves on grocery trips, and an expecting mom canceling multiple prenatal check-ups out of fear of infection.

In a year with very little happy news, the work of the MSHCA has been a major bright spot, and a showcase of just how much the residents of Millburn Township care for each other.

MSHCA Donations Helped the Following Organizations:

  1. The Brooklyn Hospital Center
  2. Brooklyn Woodhull Hospital
  3. Capital Health Medical Center
  4. CarePointHealth Hoboken University Medical Center
  5. Clara Maass Medical Center
  6. Cooper University Hospital
  7. East Orange General Hospital
  8. Envision Physician Services
  9. Hackensack Meridian Health
  10. Icare Internal Medicine
  11. Inglemoor Rehabilitation and Care Center
  12. Jersey City Medical Center
  13. Jersey Shore University Medical Center
  14. Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey
  15. JFK Medical Center
  16. Laurel Circle Nursing Home
  17. Lovenheim Pediatrics
  18. Maron Rodrigues Medical Group
  19. Matheny Medical and Educational Center
  20. Millburn Fire Department
  21. Millburn Police Department
  22. Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad
  23. Morristown Medical Center
  24. New York College of Health Professions
  25. The New York Presbyterian Hospital
  26. New York University Winthrop Hospital
  27. Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
  28. Overlook Medical Center
  29. Primary Care Partners
  30. Rehab at River’s Edge
  31. Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) University Hospital Somerset
  32. Rose Mountain Rehabilitation and Care Center
  33. Saint Barnabas Medical Center
  34. Saint Peter's University Hospital
  35. St. Mary’s General Hospital
  36. Trinitas Regional Medical Center
  37. University Hospital at Newark
  38. Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  39. Virtua Health