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
“At the beginning of the pandemic, the city government [of Arcadia] was short on equipment. There were no masks, no sanitizers – almost nothing. The annual budget of the city was compiled in July of the previous year and was implemented after confirming each item and amount. The pandemic suddenly required a large amount of funds for the purchase of prevention supplies; this became an additional expenditure for the city government.”
“[To complicate matters], our police officers and firefighters must change into another mask when they shift duties. They cannot wear the same mask to go in contact with the next client; therefore, frontline police officers use masks several times more than the average.”
“Our city had no money to buy those prevention materials, so I could only ask the public for donations. [Steadily], many residents donated masks to the city. Though individual residents could only contribute so much at once, they gave in the hopes that they could help the city curb the pandemic and protect public health. [But then,] Tzu Chi USA learned that the city was in urgent need of help.”
“The organization volunteered to donate masks to us. We know that Tzu Chi upholds the spirit of humanitarianism and is willing to provide help, so we wrote to Tzu Chi USA to request even more masks and anti-pandemic supplies. We made full use of the masks and personal protective equipment donated by Tzu Chi and the general public by providing them to the fire department, police station, and hospitals who were in urgent need around the community.”
“I also hope to appeal to the public: wear masks properly and correctly. Do not expose your nose or mouth when wearing masks, let alone pull the masks to your chin. That is useless. Obey the rules and wear a mask correctly according to the instructions of doctors and professionals.”
“In my hometown in Taiwan, the reason they can do a better job in preventing the pandemic is because everyone is accustomed to wearing masks and is willing to wear masks in accordance with the regulations. However, there is no habit of wearing masks here [in the United States]. I hope everyone can develop the habit of wearing masks and washing hands frequently. Your mask can protect others, and other people’s masks can also protect you.”
“I have personally known Tzu Chi for many years. I’ve participated in Tzu Chi activities in the past. During those activities, I saw videos about Tzu Chi volunteers serving people and many of these reports touched me a lot. I know that Tzu Chi has a spirit of great love and they always find ways to help others in times of crisis! It is very important to have love and encourage more people to give with the spirit of Tzu Chi. Thank you again for the great love of Tzu Chi volunteers for sending so many materials to help our city. I’m truly grateful to you.”
Sho Tay is Mayor Pro Tem of Arcadia, California. Tzu Chi USA has provided the city of Arcadia with 2,000 KN95 respirators, 300 surgical masks, 100 isolation gowns, 8 boxes of gloves, and 50 bottles of hand soap, plus food supplies including 65 packages of Jing Si Instant Noodles and 55 packages of Jing Si Instant Rice. Discover the full #MyMaskMyStory collection here, and help us do more to support communities in need through our Together While Apart fundraising campaign.