Donations from the community mean the world to Weiss Memorial Hospital—and hospitals everywhere during the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the weekend Weiss was fortunate to receive a large donation of personal protective equipment (PPE) from the Uptown Vietnamese community. The delivery included thousands of gloves, hundreds of surgical and N95 masks, as well as an assortment of hand sanitizers, mainly from donors associated with nail salons and suppliers.
The organizer behind the generous delivery is Vince Ta (Tạ Nguyên Vương). Vince leads a large network of volunteers and organizers who spread the word about donating PPE, serve as drop-off points for donations, and pick up donations across Uptown and the greater Chicago area. But if you ask Vince he wants to be clear that countless people within his community have been a part of this donation and delivery process.
“It has been a collective effort from the Vietnamese community, especially our brothers and sisters in the nail industry, who have jumped at the opportunity to support those on the front line who need it most,” explains Vince.
The process began when Vince and his wife donated two small boxes of surgical masks to Loyola Medical Center. His Facebook post about the donation lead to a huge donation of surgical masks from an “angel donor”, and each time Vince posted on social media the movement grew, leading to more donations. Media-savvy friends organized a live stream on Facebook featuring a doctor friend describing the great need for PPE. Within two days his post went viral with over 10,000 views and hundreds of shares. Vince had started a movement! He was amazed at the positive response from his community. Everyone wanted to help out. He organized drop-off locations all over the Chicago area. Vince and a crew of volunteers have also been responding to requests to pick up both small and large donations across the city.
“Everyone who hears what we are doing is excited about donating PPE to our hospitals. It is a chance for the Vietnamese community to give back to the country and community we love,” says Vince.
Carmen Froman, Weiss Chief Operating Officer, expressed sincere gratitude for Vince and his group of donors and volunteers. “When I walked out near the Weiss Emergency Department bay I saw a group of individuals pulling boxes of gloves, N95’s, surgical masks, and sanitizer out of two large trucks. They wanted to know if they could donate all of this to us and added ‘since you and your staff need this now more than we do, we would like to help.’”
“I literally had tears in my eyes. They asked that whatever we didn’t need to please give to other hospitals as they are aware that there is such a shortage. They are also going to fellow salons, dental offices, etc., to donate in the same way. After such a few weeks of craziness it was the best thing ever! They are true guardian angels.”
In addition to Weiss, Vince and his volunteers are delivering donations to other area hospitals, including Swedish Covenant Hospital and Thorek Memorial Hospital. Vince stressed the importance of “an internal process where the hospitals can accept the donations and share resources with those who need them most—whether it be a private or public hospital. Donors have been asking – which hospitals will their donations be going to and are they sharing resources?”
Vince says we can expect a second wave of supplies to be delivered to Weiss soon. “This will be a variety of PPE, including beautiful handmade masks,” he reports.
“I want to give a shout out to Lee Nail Supply for their generosity at this time of crisis. And also to Mini Tax Pharmacy which has been a key drop-off location. Joanne Fabric also initiated a program where people can get pattern kits to make masks,” said Vince.
To Vince and our Vietnamese neighbors: Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
While acknowledging that this is only a partial list, Vince would like to recognize as many people as he can in what he deems “the first round of angel donors that put love in my soul to spearhead the cause”:
- Vivian Thuy Nguyen
- Hung H
- Bui Ngoc Mai
- Chym En
- Thinh Bui
- The media team:
- The logistics/delivery team:
Sonny Nguyet Nguyen
Kieu Giang Do
- Hand-made mask team:
Nguyen Chau B. (taylor who initiated hand-mask)
Co Mai (taylor)
Co Thanh (traditional Vietnamese cake maker)
- Coordinator/important advocates:
Tommy Dang (he oversees the Covid-19 operation at Swedish) and his wife Thoa Bui (Pharmacist at Mini Tax)
- Donated all N95 masks for Weiss: Buddhist Monk Thich Thien Binh, from Chua Pho Hien Buddhist Temple in Machesney Park, Illinois
- Many nail salon businesses owners “which I can’t sort out at the moment but eventually”. Includes:
Lee Nail Supply
Mini Thuong Xa Pharmacy
Tran Tran family
Nguyet Phung (Viet Bowl)
….Just to name a few.
- Donor outside the state: Tam Do
- Milwaukee Team:
Singer Kieu Trang and Toan Le
Queenship of Mary Catholic Church, Joliet, IL has recently joined us.