MILLBURN, NJ — As coronavirus cases mount, first responders in the Millburn community are in need of medical supplies, such as masks and coveralls. Tuesday afternoon, representatives from the Millburn/Short Hills Chinese Association (MSHCA) presented a generous gift meant to alleviate some of that need.
MSHCA members have raised almost $50,000 thus far, which has gone toward the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for those first responders and healthcare workers who need it.
The reason supplies are being run through at such a quick clip is that for each patient who comes in or gets directly treated at the scene, healthcare workers and other first responders need to rapidly swap gloves, coveralls, masks, goggles, boots and other equipment to ensure they themselves are not contaminated.
Yesterday's donation from the MSHCA to the township consisted of 3,000 surgical masks, $1800 in gift cards to local restaurants and a $5,000 cash donation, to be split among the Millburn First Aid Squad, Fire Department and Police Department.
Association members Louie Shen and James Liu were on hand for the donation back to the Millburn community, alongside Millburn/Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad President H. Steven Roth, Vice President Bryan Daubert, Fire Chief Robert Echavarria, Police Chief Brian Gilfedder, mayor Jackie Lieberberg and Committeeman Richard Wasserman.
Shen spoke after making the donation, and said that the masks and the financial contribution were a collective token of gratitude from the MSHCA back to the township's first responders for everything they have done and continue to do during the response to coronavirus.
"In this tough time, when we hear there people who are sick, the people who come to respond to these people, to help them, are volunteers," Shen said. "So it's really hard to fathom for all of us who are hiding in our houses, there are actually people who go out in the front line and try to deal with this."
"So I want to say, these masks ... are a symbol of our affection, our support and our love toward you guys," Shen added.
Along with the donation to Millburn first responders, the MSHCA also donated 2,000 masks to Envision Physician Services, a group of about 800 healthcare providers working on the front lines in ER and urgent care at multiple hospitals in Northern New Jersey and New York. The final 2,000 masks were sent to RWJ University Hospital Somerset.
Roth spoke after Shen was finished, thanking him for the donation of the masks and the money, and said that the contributions of individuals and groups like the MSHCA, especially during this time is immensely appreciated.
"Just two hours ago, I was suited up head-to-toe on a possible COVID call," Roth said. "And if I didn't have the equipment, I wouldn't be able to go, and I wouldn't be able to help somebody. Wether it's a patient from town, from out of town, we're here to help and your words are very meaningful and thank you very much."
Following this initial donation, the MSHCA will look to continue their efforts to supply those in the community who will require PPE as they treat people battling this virus.