CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Communities all over the country are finding ways to come together during the coronavirus pandemic. In Champaign County, there are a few organizations that are pooling personal protective equipment and donating it.
Charlie Li lives in Champaign and is the President of the Guangxi University Alumni Association of America. Born in China, Li and members of his organization have been collecting and donating masks and money during the pandemic.
“We thought as Chinese-Americans in the community here, we should do our part to help do our part to fight against this invisible, deadly enemy,” says Li.
Their first instinct to help came back in January. Li says the group came together to donate to Wuhan. As COVID-19 spread in America, local members teamed up with the Chinese-American Association of Central Illinois.
“Because we have a lot of friends and relatives in China, we knew this was very bad,” says President Yaguang Lian. “This is not a small case, this is not a small disease. This is a very serious disease that can kill people.”
As things worsened, CAACI began contacting people they knew in China for their extra masks. The organization says they have given thousands of masks to Carle Hospital and Christie Clinic. Li’s organization has also give over $10,000 to the CDC Foundation.
“That’s part of our responsibility,” says Li. “We want our countries to win, we want our people to win. So we need to stand together and united together to win this battle.”
The CAACI is still collecting masks from its group members. Their next donation is planned for firefighters and other first responders later in the week.