NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If front line workers are fighting the battle against COVID-19, Chinese Americans have been helping supply the weapons needed to win the war.

You can find the masks they’ve donated anywhere from hospitals to police precincts, from rescue squads to City Hall.

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“We have seen what can happen to a country that is affected by the virus from our friends and family,” said Cassie Wang, of West Windsor, New Jersey.

Wang is a member of the American Chinese United Care Alliance.

The group, comprised of nearly 150 Chinese organizations, has raised more than $5 million to buy PPE for medical staff.

It was the American thing to do, they say, despite seeing a return of anti-Asian bigotry.


“One of the comments was, ‘Good thing he’s exercising and doing something good instead of going out there and eating things and creating more viruses.’ And that was just something that I was really taken aback by,” high schooler Richard Yan, of Scarsdale, New York, said.

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Richard says he received the online message while shooting a YouTube fitness challenge to raise money.

“There’s definitely like a feeling for us that we have to prove ourselves,” Richard told CBS2’s Christina Fan.

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Despite racist remarks and even physical attacks over the virus, Chinese Americans are using their deep social networks to secure medical supplies from overseas.

Zhang Ying Chao, who has helped distribute more than 20,000 N95 masks, says the community’s ties with China enable them to secure these crucial donations.

“He was able to through his personal connections, capture the PPE from the manufacturer and directly send it to the airport and then send over to the U.S.,” he said.

Volunteers say doctors from even out of state are coming to their homes to pick up these essential supplies.

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They say no matter how much bias they may face, they will never stop their efforts.