U of A Students and NWA Chinese Community Give Back During Crisis
Jingshu Chen, a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, always enjoyed sewing as a stress reliever, but when the COVID-19 crisis started ramping up in Arkansas, she wanted to put her ability to good use.
"I thought we'd better prepare for the worst," she said.
Chen enlisted the help of fellow members of the Northwest Arkansas Chinese Association and taught them how to sew cloth masks based on a pattern she obtained from a friend in Boston. These women, along with volunteers from the Walson Chinese School and Grace Chinese Christian Church, have sewn hundreds of masks over the past two weeks.
The Face Mask Sewing Team is selling their creations for $20 each as a fundraiser. Donors pay $20 and can receive a mask or request that it go to a healthcare worker. The money goes back into the association's COVID-19 Response Team fund to purchase personal protective equipment for local hospitals.
Payment is accepted through the donation link at the NWA Chinese Association's website.
Xi Lan, a U of A master's student in the College of Education and Health Professions, said other medical supplies are being donated also. The NWA Chinese Association has donated surgical masks, N95 respirators and medical gloves, much of which was collected door-to-door from local Chinese families. They received the life-saving equipment from relatives in China who wanted to help. The three local organizations also managed to purchase thousands of PPE from China out of their COVID-19 fund and donated it to health centers, police departments and small clinics.
Lan said she's not a talented seamstress but is getting faster at making masks every day.
"This is hard for me," Chen said, "but in a hard situation we have to do what we can to help the community."
Office of University Relations, Division of Advancement
University of Arkansas
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