Tzu Chi USA’s COVID-19 Response: Medical Supplies in the Nick of Time

Northwest  | April 13, 2020
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Volunteers carefully organize the medical supplies for delivery to hardest-hit hospitals in Santa Clara County. Photo by Minjhing Hsieh

Written by Pingyao Lee
Translated by Diana Chang
Edited by Adriana DiBenedetto

Recognizing the widespread shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals nationwide, volunteers from Tzu Chi’s Northwest Region established a ‘PPE Response Team,’ taking immediate action on March 28th to donate medical supplies to selected Santa Clara County hospitals. Two hospitals in the county, in particular, were especially hard-hit by the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Delivering Essential Medical Supplies

For the safety of volunteers, Tzu Chi’s Northwest Region branch formed two teams of volunteers that stringently abide by pandemic prevention measures.

The first stop was the Valley Medical Center (VMC), Dr. Enoch Choi, director of the Infection Screening unit graciously accepted the donation on behalf of the hospital. A total of 4,000 surgical masks and 510 N95 respirators were delivered by Tzu Chi volunteers.

Volunteers deliver medical masks to Valley Medical Center (VMC) as their first stop of the day in Santa Clara County. Photo by Minjhing Hsieh
Volunteers work together in delivering medical supplies to Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center. Photo by Samantha Mahaffey

“I’ve heard you [Tzu Chi], were involved in many disaster relief operations, from the Camp Fire in Northern California, to Haiti. […] I really don’t know how to thank you!” said Dr. Enoch Choi. Dr. Choi emphasized that this batch of medical masks are for the frontline medical workers, and just in time, too. 

The second stop was Kaiser Permanente San Jose. Tzu Chi donated 4,000 surgical masks and 475 N95 respirators. 

Volunteers from Tzu Chi’s Northwest Region deeply hope the medical masks donated can help reduce the pressure that communities face amid the PPE shortage. Volunteers have taken further actions to obtain additional medical supplies as soon as possible, so that we may continue providing this essential support to hospitals.

We are all in this together; please support our COVID-19 relief mission, and help communities stay safe. 

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