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Chinese community group & others donate protective gear to Knox first responders

They donated four boxes of more than 3,500 various masks that they've collected.
Credit: ETCCAC

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Knoxville and Knox County leaders put out a call for donations of PPE (personal protective equipment) for the local first responders and medical community.

A drive was organized Friday morning at the Jacob Building in Chilhowee Park, and one group that showed up with a big donation was the East Tennessee Chinese/Chinese American Care community group.

They donated four boxes of more than 3,500 various masks that they've collected.

“Many of these items were supplies our group members’ families and friends mailed to them for their own protection.” Rachel Rui, founder of ETCCAC said. “But when we put out the call to collect PPE, so many showed up at our door and told us to take these and give them to first responders who need protection more than they do.” 

RELATED: PPE collection drive is Friday morning at Chilhowee Park's Jacob Building

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Among the 3,500 masks, 3,000 were purchased from overseas and arrived on Thursday. 

The group did research and worked hard to make sure that any masks they purchased would meet CDC criteria.

“We can stay home,” Lei Xu, co-founder of ETCCAC added. “But our paramedics, firefighters, police officers cannot. They are out there protecting us. Donating our gears to protect them is the least we can do.”

The group recently formed to do what they could to help out in the coronavirus crisis, and has grown from just seven members to more than 184, including people who have locally and others from as far away as China.


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RELATED: Knoxville officials asking for protective equipment donations for first responders and hospitals to meet future needs

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