BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Bridgewater Chinese American Association formed a task force called "United We Stand Against COVID-19" to gather supplies and help those in need in the community.

When the outbreak escalated in New Jersey, the community started to form teams of volunteers to help, with a priority of supporting the medical facilities and the town's essential operations. A fundraising campaign was started to raise money to procure personal protective equipment.

According to volunteer Gloria Lu, the group has prioritized a list of actions to help the community stay strong, leveraging the Chinese populations in Somerset, Hunterdon and Essex counties.

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Since February, Lu said, the task force has been in communication with the Bridgewater municipality, board of education and public schools to promote public awareness and push toward action. These include pushing for school closures, suspending public events and suspending recreational activities.

In addition, Lu said, they have leveraged resources from China and are in the process of purchasing medical grade masks, with a shipment expected to arrive the week of March 23 to be distributed to local hospitals. The total monetary donation so far, she said, is $8,800.

Lu said volunteers have also donated about 100 of their own masks to hospitals like Hunterdon Medical Center and Newark Beth Israel.

"As the outbreak unfolds in front of us, the daily inconveniences for many of us is small compared to the financial devastation that small businesses are facing, the risks that health care professionals are facing and the sacrifices that many essential workers are making," she said.

Anyone who would like to help should email bcaachair@gmail.com.