#MyMaskMyStory: “You just want to do more”

National Headquarters  |  August 12, 2020

Part of our Together While Apart campaign, #MyMaskMyStory is a collection of personal accounts from individuals with deep ties to the COVID-19 pandemic. These include those who have volunteered, those who have donated, and those who have received.

Edited by Dilber Shatursun

“There is a quote from a Spider Man movie that, ‘with great power comes, great responsibility.’ But I think that also with great knowledge, comes great responsibility- especially if you have the power to make positive change. So, knowing about the PPE shortage issue, I felt a great responsibility to help.”

“I have four cousins who work in hospitals and upon hearing their stories about mask shortages and having to reuse masks, I felt compelled to personally send them my small supply of N95 masks that I bought a long time ago from the Home Depot.”

“When Tzu Chi started to distribute PPE on a local level- targeting our hospitals that were most in need- I thought it was a great opportunity to volunteer. And being a newly active member of Tzu Chi, the brothers and sisters were not shy to ask me to break quarantine and make these deliveries with them.”

“We called several hospitals to assess their situation, and those that were in urgent need were not hesitant to ask for our help. I was happy to be part of this process, thinking about how many doctors & nurses, like my cousins, who we were able to help with some very needed PPE.”

“When you see your community heroes in tears, and hearing their stories about not having what they needed to protect themselves and their patients when caring for the sick, you just want to do more. We felt an immense pressure from a lack of time knowing how urgent this issue was and still is. I was constantly worrying ‘will the merchandise arrive on time?,’ ‘did we give enough?’”

“Our first delivery on March 25th was to a local [Miami] hospital, Memorial Hospital Pembroke. The Infection Specialist, Gary Smith, and the nurses greeted us with great warmth & gratitude. One of them had wiped away a tear, whether it was because of the delivery of supplies or the fact that Sister Judy told her these masks come with “thousands and thousands of [pieces of] love.”

“I hope to let the doctors and nurses know we care, that we wish we can do more, but our efforts to find, raise the money, and personally distribute [PPE to] them will show them how important they are to us. Tzu Chi leaves a label on each donation that we give. This symbol on the box, I hope people can recognize that this was truly a gift from all of us, that human beings all support one another.”

Anna Hua is a volunteer with Tzu Chi Miami. She helped make a delivery of 1,000 surgical masks donated to Memorial Hospital Pembroke in Pembroke Pines, FL, plastered with labels printed at her office. To explore more stories of compassion, catch up on the entire #MyMaskMyStory collection here.

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