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Chinese community collects masks for Boston area healthcare workers

Boston’s Chinese community are working together to collect masks for healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boston’s Chinese community are working together to collect masks for healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.Courtesy Photo (custom credit)/Courtesy Photo

More than 400 members of Boston’s Chinese community are working together to collect masks for healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grassroots effort began when Shuang Li heard a friend complaining about not having enough masks at the hospital where they work , according to a statement released by the group of volunteers.

Li, along with Dan Mu, organized volunteers to collect masks for healthcare workers in the Boston area.

Since the donation drive began, about 38,000 masks have been donated from both the Boston area and China, Youzi Liang, a spokesperson for the volunteers, said in a Zoom interview.

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Many of the masks are being sent by residents’ families in China.

Volunteers have been working long hours, cold nights, and even skipping meals to collect masks, he said. A group of students studying in Boston high schools donated their personal savings to order masks for healthcare providers, according to the statement.

Qing Zhang, a spokesperson for the volunteer group, said it’s important to support and care for healthcare workers during this pandemic.

“This is a really serious thing,” she said during a Zoom interview.

The masks are going to healthcare workers from 37 hospitals including Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Tufts Medical Center, according to the press release.

A doctor at Brigham and Women’s sent a letter thanking the group for the donation. “I think donations such as this have the potential to greatly reduce the risk to health care providers and patients as we confront the swelling tide of COVID-19 infections in our community," the letter said.

There are donation sites in Arlington, Belmont, Lexington, Malden, Melrose, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Quincy, Braintree, Westwood, Andover, and Providence, R.I., according to Zhang. Volunteers designed an online donation and request system to facilitate the donation process.

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Liang said it’s important for all community members to work together to support each other as COVID-19 impacts the Boston community.

“We want everyone to work together to do something,” he said.

Andrew Stanton can be reached at andrew.stanton@globe.com.