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Volunteers chip in by raising funds

By ZHANG XIAOMIN in Dalian and YANG JUN in Guiyang | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-02-17 09:04
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Volunteers Guo Zhaowei (second from left) and Li Kun (left), from Guizhou province, purchase masks at a pharmacy in Thailand on Jan 29. CHEN PENGPENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

Editor's note: This series tells the stories of selfless individuals, from medical workers to volunteers, who are bravely fighting the virus outbreak with extraordinary dedication.

Wang Guansheng, a volunteer in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, has been busy raising funds and collecting protective equipment amid the nationwide battle against the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak.

"I've been wearing this mask for five days. You know it is in short supply," said Wang.

Together with seven other volunteers, Wang was loading 1,000 sets of protective clothing and 50,000 pairs of gloves donated by a medical company onto a truck sent by the local health commission on Jan 31.

They had already collected and sent more than 10,000 masks to local welfare institutions, cleaning staff, and those in need.

Wang, 32, who runs a chain of stores that deals in noodles in the coastal city, is a key volunteer of the project, called "Support Wuhan, Safeguard Dalian", organized by the Dalian Charity Federation.

The project had raised more than 67.69 million yuan ($9.69 million) up to Feb 15.

On Jan 24, Wang read a report about a doctor who was on duty in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of the disease now named COVID-19, although his son was not keeping well, and he needed to be taken care of.

He decided to do something.

Wang contacted his friends, Lai Qingxin, Han Wei, Liu Jie, and many others. Together with the charity federation, they initiated a fundraising project on Jan 25.

"Within three hours, people donated more than 100,000 yuan. People are really caring," said Wang.

According to him, an entrepreneur donated healthcare products. The entrepreneur herself was allowed by a shop owner to print for free hundreds of stickers with the title, "Support Dalian".

People want to do something in their own way, said Wang, whose cellphone was constantly ringing. "Some want to donate money, while some want to donate materials. Many have offered help."

Wang said a lot of people were willing to help, but in order to reduce the risk of infection, only eight of them were engaged in the initiative at any given time.

On the morning of Jan 31, they braved subzero temperatures, carrying 200 barrels of disinfectant water weighing 5 tons.

Like Wang and his partners, there were many kindhearted Chinese people volunteering to contribute to the fight against the epidemic.

Five people from Southwest China's Guizhou province purchased 100,000 face masks abroad and donated the first consignment on Jan 30 to Huichuan district, Zunyi city, Guizhou province.

Within three days, they visited more than 100 stores in Thailand and Laos.

"In this task, we received help from several overseas Chinese. I deeply feel their love for the motherland," said Bai Duolu, president of a Zunyi-based construction company, who took this initiative.

"We found that masks were in short supply, and most of them were to be sent to Wuhan. So we turned to other countries and contacted friends in the neighboring countries first," he said.

According to Bai, they have been receiving support from customs departments, airlines and local government in Huichuan district in the city of Zunyi.

Xie Guolei, deputy director of the district, gave the thumbs-up to their initiative. "We're proud that we have such an excellent group of people in Huichuan district."

Xie said the first consignment of more than 40,000 masks has been distributed among front-line medical workers and police officers. The rest will be sent to hospitals, village clinics, and police.

Zhao Yandi contributed to this story.

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