Calgary

Calgary's Chinese community steps up to help those in need during pandemic

When Lucia Liu isn't teaching high school classes online for her Calgary students, she's helping to orchestrate the donation of tens of thousands of face masks.

Some donate thousands of pieces of PPE, others hundreds of kilograms of rice

Volunteers deliver rice to vulnerable Chinese seniors in Calgary. (Josephine Tsang)

When Lucia Liu isn't teaching high school classes online for her Calgary students, she's helping to orchestrate the donation of tens of thousands of face masks.

Her group, COVID-19 Chinese Community Resources, has donated 70,000 masks, 1,700 ear protectors and 400 head covers.

"We call organizations like Calgary Alpha House and Mustard Seed, senior care centres, we call homeless [shelters] and community clinics, anywhere they need a mask," Liu said.

Many of the masks are being donated by contacts in China, and some, along with plastic ear protectors, are being made by volunteers with the group on 3D printers.

Calgary high school teacher Lucia Liu has coordinated the donation of thousands of items of PPE. (Lucia Liu)

It's not just PPE at the heart of the Calgary Chinese community's efforts. 

The Chinatown Lion's club, the Calgary Chinese Community Services Association and  the Alliance of Calgary Community Ethnic Support Society have teamed up to deliver more than two metric tonnes of rice — provided by the T&T Supermarket at a significant discount — to vulnerable Chinese seniors in the city.

Josephine Tsang with the CCCSA said there is another layer of challenges when it comes to supporting elders in the Chinese community.

She said many do not access information through technology. There is also a language barrier, which is why the initiative includes brochures with COVID-19 information, translated into Mandarin and Cantonese.

"We at the CCCSA and everyone else are trying our best to provide accurate information so people would feel that they're being looked after and that they're not alone," Tsang said.

Liu said it's important for her to do something during this global pandemic to not only help get proper supplies to those who need it, but also to combat racism that has been directed toward the Chinese community.

"We only can use our actions to tell people we are kindhearted, that we're supportive. We love our own community here. That's what we can do to let the people know we're good people."

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