LIVINGSTON, NJ — Members of Livingston’s Chinese community, with help of Chinese residents from the townships of Warren and Montville, recently mobilized to collect 9,000 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to be donated to Saint Barnabas Medical Center’s emergency room.

The group also donated essential PPE to Livingston Township and the Livingston post office as well as Hackettstown Hospital and Teaneck Hospital.

These industrious neighbors, whose friends in the medical field had been discussing the dangers of not wearing masks during the pandemic, launched a Google register form to find out if anyone had “extra supplies for commuting to work by public transportation.”

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The initiative grew quickly, as many people responded to the plea.

“[The response] was quite touching,” said one of the organizers, who wished to remain anonymous. “Many families graciously shared whatever they had.”

Between 20 families, thousands of procedure and dust masks were collected and donated to the hospital along with other PPE essentials such as goggles, disposable shoe covers, hand sanitizers, non-touch thermometers and more.

Many of those who have donated to the cause were able to secure much-needed goods from friends and relatives in China.

Since the outbreak has been subdued to some extent in China, leaving the country with a surplus of masks and other goods, organizers said the group’s connections to China have been integral to the project’s success in Livingston.

The group continues to brainstorm and research ways to obtain additional personal protective gear and supplies and also continues to collect items.

“The Livingston Chinese community is running a fundraiser to come up with a way to help,” the organizers said. “We will share more information about our new venture in a couple of days.”

Social distancing was practiced throughout the collection process, as the quarantine was already in effect at the time. All items were left on either the donors’ or organizers’ doorsteps, and dedicated volunteers ventured out into multiple Livingston neighborhoods to retrieve them.

Within five days of starting the project, the Livingston Chinese community collected thousands of supplies that have already been dropped off at Saint Barnabas Medical Center. Another several-thousand face masks are also currently in transit from China that will be donated to the Livingston Police Department and other local service providers.

“The Livingston Chinese community is working tirelessly to help drivers who are delivering packages,” said another group member who also wished to remain anonymous. “Every day in our ‘WeChat’ group, the only topic is how to get the protective gear to the community as fast as we can…

“Everybody is looking for various channels in China to get the goods. Some of the orders are already in shipment. Then, at night, people are tracking shipments and discussing what will be the next steps.”

She added that the spirit of cooperation has been inspirational and that the organizers have been thrilled with the volume of donations received so far.

“I believe most people have big hearts,” one of the organizers said. “This virus is the enemy of our whole world. Helping others is helping ourselves. Everyone is on the same page at this time.”

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