The distance between Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts to Taiwan is about 12,672 KM (7,875 miles). A simple conversation connected the two islands that resulted in 4000 medical masks being delivered to Martha's Vineyard to help its residents fight against the pandemic.
Carloine Reeves is a researcher on Chinese Non-Profit Organization at Harvard University. In January of this year, she and her family relocated from Boston to the family vacation home on the island. To reduce the risk of infection to the 15,000 residents on the island, they brought enough food and other groceries to last several months and also quarantined themselves for several weeks before they began to go out.
While staying at home, they saw an ad from City of Chilmark requesting volunteers to purchase and deliver personal protective supplies for the elderly residents. Caroline's two sons, 16 year-old Daniel and 19 year-old Andrew Lee immediately sprang into action and began to volunteer for the community.
One day, Caroline had an online meeting with Dr. Her of Tzu Chi Foundation discussing potential partnering projects. Dr. Her told her that Tzu Chi has a branch office in Boston. If there is any individual or organization that needs assistance, she's welcomed to refer to Tzu Chi. Caroline's two sons immediately said, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Martha's Vineyard!"
Tzu Chi Boston branch office director Jingman Chang received a phone call from Dr. Her right away and began to communicate with Caroline through emails.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Tzu Chi volunteers in Boston began to purchase and collect donations of disinfectant and personal protective equipment (PPE). They have made donations to Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Medical Center and other medical facilities, helping to protect the frontline workers in the fight against the pandemic. Due to the severity of the outbreak in the northeast United States, Tzu Chi Foundation have also shipped more than one million masks and 100,000 other PPE for donation to healthcare facilities, police and firefighters, transportation workers and nursing home staff.
After an understanding of Martha's Vineyard's need and the existing inventory on hand at the branch office, volunteers determined to donate 4000 masks. But the question became how to deliver these masks to the island's residents while in keeping with the social distancing guideline.
Soon, through Delilah Meegan, volunteer coordinator of Chilmark, they contacted Carroll's Trucking to ship the masks to Martha's Vineyard. A local reporter got hold of the news of this shipment and reported the story.
As the pandemic continues, Tzu Chi’s work will continue! Tzu Chi USA invites you to join us in the fundraiser for this outbre
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Mailing Address: Tzu Chi Foundation
15 Summer Street
Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464
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