Due to COVID-19, there have been shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), affecting doctors and nurses in many hospitals. The students of ABC, along with their families, attempted to make working conditions safer and more comfortable for those who are putting their health at risk by making face shields.
On March 28, 2020 the project began with a few students and their respective families, including Natalie Bui, Nathan Lee, Emmaly Nguyen, Dean Alamy, and Kenneth Yang. Later, the project expanded and more help was given through the families of Ms. Cassandra Diep, Allison Diep, Andrew Nguyen, Ethan Nguyen, Michael Lee, Andrea Dao, Audrey Dao, Sydney Pham, Alex Pham, Andrew Pham, Allison Vu, Jacqueline Duong, Joshua Wang and Ryan Ho. While most of the students are still in high school, by devoting their time to the project they truly showed their desire to help those in need. To learn how to create these face shields, they referred to online videos/tutorials and other websites. Multiple students and families have agreed to share supplies, as some materials are low in stock or not in stock at all. To help others make their own face shields, some of our students created a video to show the steps of how to create the face shields.
Throughout the project, they took into careful consideration all parts of the face shields, often changing the materials or the design they were using. Furthermore, the students and families encountered shipping delays, yet they still tried their best, despite given a limited amount of time. Not only did they sanitize the shields, but they also packed them, making them easy to transfer and ship. Their prayers over the shields gave the workers a sense of peace and God's love, even when they were on the battlefield.
ABC was requested to make and donate face shields to hospitals across the country. The first initiative was due to one of the ABC doctors learning that her friend, another doctor in Texas, was converting scuba gears into protective gears due to severe shortage of PPEs (personal protective gears) in his hospital and everywhere else in the U.S. Dr. Tao brought her concerns to the group, and the group responded with overwhelming enthusiasm, offering financial and/or technical support, despite the fact that many ABC physicians and medical specialists are frontline workers themselves. The students ultimately took the lead and began organizing and delegating the various tasks as well as other projects (see below).
As of today, ABC has shipped face shields to Texas, Pittsburgh and New York. In California by itself, ABC has donated to the Scripps Medical Center, Kaiser South Bay, Torrance Memorial, Kaiser Anaheim, Kaiser Garden Grove, Anaheim Regional Hospital, UCI (intensive care unit, cardiology, MICU, dialysis), St. Joseph Hospital, and Los Alamitos Unified School District (for their mandatory daycare workers). Following this, ABC will be making and sending face shields to Uganda as the country is beginning to see its surge of the COVID19 cases. (written 5/30/2020)
Due to the country's closure to prevent the COVID19 crisis and the fact that a significant percentage of the country's GDP is from the tourism industry, many of the villages that ABC medical mission team visits annually suffer from severe unemployment and lack of ability to purchase for food and basic necessities. With unanimous vote, ABC started donating money regularly to purchase for food for the Seine Bight Village, distributed by the village council. The money came from previous donations by the ABC team members as well as friends and supporters of ABC meant to be used for purchase of medications and medical supplies for the medical mission trip 2020. However since the trip got cancelled due to the COVID19 crisis, the unanimous vote was to use this money to supply the urgent need for food for this year and fundraise again in the future for the next medical mission trip. (written 5/30/2020) Updates: October 2020 Belize reopened its borders as of October 1st, 2020. However, due to continued global pandemic crisis, business remained idle and the country continues to suffer economically. ABC continues to donate to local food pantries in the villages of Independence and Golden Stream. The monthly food distributions from August to October were generously donated by Vivian Tien, Andrew Nguyen and friends of Andrew Nguyen, Verena Wong, and friends of ABC. (written 10/30/2020)
On top of making face shields to distribute to various hospitals throughout the U.S., a few ABC students & families also purchased & donated 2 boxes of N95 masks (Mr. Andy Te & Dr. Jessie Zhang to Scripps Medical Center and White Plains Hospital, NY), 2 boxes of surgical masks (Dr. Chau-Hui Liu to Scripps Medical Center and to Belize), and made hundreds of cloth face masks (some with pockets for air filters) for local nursing homes, non-profit organizations, and also for Belize (face masks made by Dr. Thai Ta, Andrew Nguyen, Ms. Cassandra and daughter Ally Diep). Dr. Ta and Andrew Nguyen also made see-through face masks for the sign language interpreters.
Mr. Andy Te and his daughter Amberyn Te who was an active long term member of the Fairmont High School ABC Club prior to her high school graduation, remain active in supporting ABC through various means. Recently his company Diamond Gloves Inc, donated 250,000 face masks to the Lifesteps Children and Families Service, which is a large non-profit organization that provides care and services to disabled and developmentally delayed children. The masks will be used by healthcare and social workers who need to visit the family homes in order to provide urgent and necessary therapies. The organization also has a daycare center for disabled children whose parents are first responders. ABC is grateful and proud to call the Te Family one of our own. (written 5/30/20)
A few of the ABC students took the self-initiative and came up with creative ways to fundraise for ABC, despite being locked down. One such amazing student is Alexis Chan, who designed and sold T-shirts in order to make the best out of the quarantine situation for a good cause. Alexis lives in one of the hardest hit areas of New York. She chose to look past her own hardship and instead to let her light shine in the darkness. (written 5/30/20)
Ms. Cassandra Diep and daughter Allison Diep made extra face masks for their local community, many of whom in return donated for the Belize food donation program. (written 6/10/20)
Here's a post by Ryan and Evan Ho who also reside in NY on their school website: My name is Ryan Ho. I am a rising senior at * High School. We are living in challenging times with the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggle against social injustice. In order to contribute in my small way, I am offering tennis lessons/hitting sessions for kids of all levels, from beginners to advanced players. I am a USTA ranked player and have played first singles on the boy’s varsity team since the 10th grade. I also have juniors coaching experience as an instructor at the College Racquet Club summer camp. I will be donating all proceeds to two charities: the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) to advocate for greater social justice and Agape Belize Cure, a student-funded, non-profit that provides medical resources to southern Belize. Please text me at * if you are interested, and feel free to pass along this message. All proceeds from Ryan, Evan and Alexis will contribute to the food donation program in Belize. (written 6/15/20) Updates: August 2020 Alexis Chan made and sold another batch of tie-dye T-shirts and donated to ABC. She did this fundraising right before heading out-of-state to start college on campus. Allison Diep and Ms. Cassandra Diep continue to fundraise for ABC by making and selling face masks. Overcoming difficult technique and learning, Allison now makes beautiful masks with different purposes such as ones with easier breathing and ones with see-through panel for special needs students. (written 9/1/2020)
Despite the inability of the medical mission team to physically travel to Belize, ABC was able to help educate and emphasize awareness of the COVID-19 via social media. ABC students (Nathan Lee, Natalie Bui) and physicians began to post information about the coronavirus, importance of handwashing/ protective gears and social distancing, and on how to make face masks / face shields. The Facebook posts reached thousands of people in Belize. ABC is relieved and happy to learn that, as of April 16, 2020, Belize has not had any new cases of COVID19. The tentative plan is to resume our annual medical mission trip in 2021. (written 5/30/20)
Belize's pandemic took a logarithmic increase in the beginning of August. Since the country lack essential medical supplies, equipment and protective personal equipment, the morbidity and mortality rates are high and the spread of Covid-19 is hard to contain despite the fact that the citizens are compliant with following social distancing and other recommended preventive measures. This is especially evidenced by the high percentage of the frontline workers contracting the disease. After learning about the lack of N95 masks for the healthcare workers involved in the Covid-19 testing and care, ABC contacted Dr. Chau-Hui Liu in Taiwan. (Dr. Liu is one of the founders of ABC.) After pleading with the NIOSH-approved N95 mask manufacturer the urgent need in Belize, Dr. Liu is able to mail 200 N95 masks every month for a total of 1000 N95 masks to medical facilities of southern Belize. Donations to purchase these N95 masks were provided by Andrea and Audrey Dao, Lauren Hamamoto, Dr. Chau-Hui Liu, Ryan and Julia Tao, Joshua Wang, and Vivian Tien. (written 10/30/2020)
Natural Disaster Relief
The year 2020 has been particularly hard, filled with global pandemic, violence, economic hardship, and natural disasters. Headquartered in California, which has experienced unprecedented wildfire rages in recent years, ABC has teamed up with another Belize non-profit group called B-BLUE (Building Belizean Livelihoods and the Environment).
Gift Baskets for Frontline Workers
In December 2020, healthcare workers continued to bravely battle the surge in cases during the holiday season. To bring holiday cheer and boost the morale of our frontline workers in this difficult time, ABC put together gift baskets with items including handmade cards+bookmarks, pressed flower encouragement frames, gift cards, snacks/baked goods, popcorn, and hand creams, as well as thank you boards for each hospital. These were delivered to Kaiser (Downey, Anaheim, and Sunset), UCI, Penrose Hospital Colorado, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia Pediatrics, Kings Harbor, and Harvard. To all of our frontline workers, thank you from ABC for all that you do to keep us safe.
Written by Andrea Dao Agape Belize Cure: Giving This Bleak December
With millions of healthcare workers continuing to do their best during these unprecedented times, it comes with no surprise that we, on the receiving end, would like to express how grateful we are for their efforts. The students of Agape Belize Cure have worked together to create gift-baskets as tokens of our appreciation! Our gift-baskets have been distributed amongst many hospitals, the baskets including a variety of chocolates, beautifully handwritten thank-you cards, a letter of our students’ appreciation, and more. We hope that we can end 2020 on a sweeter, more positive note, despite the chaos of this year. As a student who contributed to making these gift baskets, I hope that those receiving them know that I appreciate them and all they do. I write this on the behalf of my peers and am wishing those who read this a happier, more joyful year. To all the healthcare workers who work tirelessly to end this pandemic, and to the souls who feel as if your efforts are futile, please know and remember that the whole world is on your side. We’re here to cheer you on and remind you that you truly are our heroes. Don’t forget that no matter what. Happy Holidays! Stay Safe, and be well.
Superpod Lunch Appreciations
Over a year since the pandemic began, many healthcare workers continued to contribute to the health and safety of our communities by facilitating the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. At the Disneyland vaccine superpod, thousands of vaccines were administered every day, and the student volunteers of Agape Belize Cure wanted to show their appreciation for the frontline workers who are essential to this vaccine site. ABC ordered food and drinks for the healthcare workers at the Disneyland superpod on two different occasions in April and May of 2021, and the outcome was heartwarming: our ABC volunteers spoke with many doctors, nurses, and other volunteers at the site who shared their experiences and welcomed this small surprise during their lunch breaks. Our community is slowly returning to normalcy as COVID-19 cases fall, and ABC thanks our frontline workers for making this possible. ABC students are inspired by the healthcare community for forming the picture of resilience in a time of urgent need.