COMMUNITY: Bay Area nurse utilizes overseas connections to allocate thousands of masks for local hospitals

Sutter Health - Doctor - Neighborhood Hero - 2020

When Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center nurse, Minfen Ding is not caring for patients, she’s finding ways to gather necessary hospital resources for local health care workers. 

Due to the urgent need for sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) in her own workplace, the Oakland RN has been using social media to request donations for surgical masks. Through Minfen and generous community members locally and overseas, more than 13,000 masks have been donated to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center. 

The support she has received has been nothing short of amazing. 

“I am so overwhelmed by our community and their donations of love for our health care staff,” she says.

Minfen has been advocating for the hospital’s needs through WeChat, an app suited for domestic and international communication. It has allowed Minfen to spread the word and appeal for donations among local Chinese-American community groups, as well as family, friends and other medical workers overseas. 

“Without proper PPE, it’s as if you’re running naked in front of the virus,” says Minfen. 

Though full-body coverage is a goal further down the road (such as full-body suits, goggles and protective shoes), Minfen is making a significant impact in ensuring accessibility to quality surgical masks for thousands of medical workers. She expects 3,000 more masks to arrive in the next week.

“The real heroes are the individual donors and the large Chinese community who are raising money and making donations to hospitals all over the Bay Area,” says Minfen. 

Her teenage daughter has also stepped up by starting a GoFundMe page with a friend to raise money to purchase more masks. By following her mother’s example, she has been able to communicate with local and overseas donors to secure hundreds more masks.

Minfen has been humbled by the ability to work alongside such selfless health care workers and generous community members. She urges everyone to consider how they can play a part in this fight. 

“By working together as a whole community, we will definitely win this battle,” she says. 

The San Jose Earthquakes and Quakes Foundation are humbled and inspired by the amazing work of our frontline communities and neighbors in this time of crisis. Each week, we’ll be featuring and highlighting the work of one fantastic neighborhood hero, showcasing the great work they are doing and the organizations our community can rally around.

Additionally, the Quakes Foundation will provide a donation to an organization or community project on behalf of each week’s hero. This week we will be donating to the GoFundMe page of Minfen’s daughter. If you would like to also support her cause, click here.

Do you know a hero in your neighborhood? Nominate them by visiting: https://sjearthquakes.formstack.com/forms/neighborhood_heroes