Published May 1, 2020
When the COVID-19 pandemic first began in China, Qinghua Chen, a doctoral student in the Graduate School of Education, created a video in support of her native country.
Once the pandemic reached Buffalo, Chen shifted her efforts to helping her second home by working to raise money to purchase face masks for health care workers and first responders.
Chen recently donated nearly 3,600 face masks to the Town of Amherst Emergency Operation Center, Pediatric & Adolescent Urgent Care of WNY and local police. The donation was made possible by a fundraising campaign she organized with friends that collected $2,100 in gifts from 43 donors in both the United States and China.
“When I made the video, filmed primarily on the UB campus, to support people who were battling COVID-19 in the worse time in China, I received tremendous support from friends, teachers and classmates, [and] from the local communities based in the U.S.” says Chen. “Now the coronavirus is here, I feel there is an urge for me to do something and help with the local battle as much as I can. We are all in this together.”
Chen works with family and friends in China to purchase and ship medical-grade face masks. Along with the protective materials, Chen also gifted children’s drawings offering encouragement to frontline workers fighting COVID-19, and signs with the message in Mandarin, “Jiayou, America,” or “keep fighting, America.”
This is not the first time Chen has shared essential supplies. She also donated more than 700 face masks to her instructors and classmates at UB, and to friends and neighbors in Buffalo. During one trip to the grocery store, Chen passed several road construction workers without protective equipment and stopped to provide them with face masks.
“It’s not much money and not many masks, but this delivers our best wishes and support from our heart,” says Chen. “I’m happy to play a role of being a global citizen and look forward to the day when we win the battle and life turns back normal.”