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Helping Lansing fight COVID-19, from 7,000 miles away

“MSU and its faculty, staff and volunteers have been very student centered during the COVID-19 crisis … As a parent, I am happy to do what we can for the MSU community,” -- Li Wang

Sparrow Hospital receives a shipment of masks

Helping Lansing fight COVID-19, from 7,000 miles away

“MSU and its faculty, staff and volunteers have been very student centered during the COVID-19 crisis … As a parent, I am happy to do what we can for the MSU community,” -- Li Wang

More than 2,300 urgently needed protective face masks for children arrived at Sparrow Hospital on May 5, thanks to the efforts of Michigan State University’s Chinese Faculty Club and 20 Chinese parents of MSU students.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the club has been fundraising and leveraging connections with medical equipment suppliers to purchase items in bulk from China to help supply Mid-Michigan hospitals and clinics. But due to exporting limitations, they could not meet the need for children-sized masks by Sparrow Health System, said Xuefei Huang, club president and MSU Foundation Professor and associate chair for research in the Department of Chemistry

The Chinese parents learned of the problem through the Spartan network on WeChat, a popular social media outlet in China. Within a week, these parents purchased the masks themselves and shipped them individually to the Chinese faculty at MSU.

“MSU and its faculty, staff and volunteers have been very student centered during the COVID-19 crisis, fully considering the students’ challenges and needs. We truly appreciate that. As a parent, I am happy to do what we can for the MSU community,” said Li Wang, the mother of an MSU freshman from China.

Dan Bissot, Director, Supply Chain Management, Sparrow Health System, expressed appreciation: “This is another great example of community support in helping us further stabilize our supply of personal protective equipment.  These masks will be specifically used to protect our pediatric patients.” 

 

masks ready for shipping
Masks for children, in individually sealed packages, ready for use at Sparrow Hospital thanks to members of the MSU Chinese community.

 

Early this year, the faculty club joined with the Michigan Chinese American Coalition and the Greater Lansing Chinese Association to form a coalition to support China’s efforts to combat the novel coronavirus, shifting their focus to mid-Michigan as the virus began to cross borders.

“We heard gruesome news [from China] with a lot of people dying and we’ll do the best we can to prevent this from happening in Michigan. We’re all in this together. It is our community,” said Huang. 

The club plans to continue acquiring needed equipment to help local hospitals as well as other people at high risk, including those in retirement homes, caseworkers, and first responders. They are also working with the local school districts to provide masks for individuals operating free lunch trucks.

Donations to help the efforts can be made online.

Author: Lois Furry, '89