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.
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.
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:
- The Brooklyn Hospital Center
- Brooklyn Woodhull Hospital
- Capital Health Medical Center
- CarePointHealth Hoboken University Medical Center
- Clara Maass Medical Center
- Cooper University Hospital
- East Orange General Hospital
- Envision Physician Services
- Hackensack Meridian Health
- Icare Internal Medicine
- Inglemoor Rehabilitation and Care Center
- Jersey City Medical Center
- Jersey Shore University Medical Center
- Jewish Family Services of Central New Jersey
- JFK Medical Center
- Laurel Circle Nursing Home
- Lovenheim Pediatrics
- Maron Rodrigues Medical Group
- Matheny Medical and Educational Center
- Millburn Fire Department
- Millburn Police Department
- Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad
- Morristown Medical Center
- New York College of Health Professions
- The New York Presbyterian Hospital
- New York University Winthrop Hospital
- Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
- Overlook Medical Center
- Primary Care Partners
- Rehab at River’s Edge
- Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) University Hospital Somerset
- Rose Mountain Rehabilitation and Care Center
- Saint Barnabas Medical Center
- Saint Peter's University Hospital
- St. Mary’s General Hospital
- Trinitas Regional Medical Center
- University Hospital at Newark
- Veterans Affairs Medical Center
- Virtua Health