School of Business faculty members June Dong and Hong Wan were among 11 Chinese-American residents of the Fayetteville and Manlius area who spearheaded a drive to collect more than 45,000 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to support over 40 Central New York organizations.

From spring into summer, organizers and volunteers collected and donated items including surgical masks and gowns, face masks, face shields and gloves and from China.

In March, our friends and family members from China started sending masks to us since the situation there got eased,” Dong explained. They saw the window to bring much-needed PPE into Central New York and acted on the opportunity, she added.  

“Lack of critical medical suppliers, especially at the beginning of the pandemic, put our frontline people in danger,” Dong said. “The supply chain of the PPEs was stressed out.”

Spring was a strange and apprehensive time for many, but this project offered a way to make a productive impact on the surrounding community, Wan noted.

“I felt the world was so different when you drove on the street and found that the city became so quiet suddenly,” Wan said. “I first started by collecting the donations of PPE from the local community and then joined Professor Dong and other active community volunteers to seek a large purchase of PPEs from China and to help reach out to the agencies who had urgent needs for PPEs and deliver the PPEs to their hands.”

Rewarding effort

The resulting success of the PPE drive was uplifting to people on both ends of the donations.

“We felt so rewarded when we saw post office workers, nursing home workers, VA (Veterans Affairs) hospital healthcare workers and many other local frontline workers wearing the masks, face shields and gloves we donated,” Dong said.

“It was a truly fulfilling experience when you heard or saw those essential workers had more protections because of the PPEs you helped donate,” Wan recalled. “People feel safer because of the work you did. It was a privilege that I can be part of the team that made a positive impact on the community and made the community stay strong and connected.”

“To serve the community and to help the people are everyone's responsibility,” Dong added. “In a difficult time, it became more important. We should do our best.”

“This is a good testimony on how SUNY Oswego -- including our faculty, staff, students and alumni -- cares about our community and made a positive social impact on it,” Wan said.