IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Right now, communities are coming together like never before to help those among them.
In Idaho Falls, the Chinese community (IFCC) has been hard at work, looking for ways to help their community.
"We feel a strong responsibility, we are part of this community. We want to do whatever we can to help the community." Chenlin Li said.
Li, a senior scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory, has been focused on helping her community lately. As a member of the IFCC, a collection of around 70 Chinese families, Li and others are working to get much need materials for those who need them most.
After speaking with area hospitals, nursing homes and first responders in late March, the group decided to fundraise.
"Their needs include masks and medical supplies from hospitals also … the cleaning supplies," Li said.
The IFCC banded together and “within less than a week," the group was able to raise nearly $10,000 and gather 200 medical masks, according to Li.
The group has been making contacts in local circles, as well as overseas, in an effort to purchase the masks and other supplies the care community needs.
“We have been making lots of good progress, so we were really lucky - we’ve secured close to 5,000 medical masks," she said.
"On Thursday, April 2, our group members made a visit to EIRMC hospital also Mountain View local - the community hospital. We donated 1,200 masks to these two hospitals to help the medical doctors and nurses."
That same day, the group sent representatives to the Bank of Idaho, where $3,000 was donated to the community commitment fund.
The small "unofficial" group has rarely gathered outside of traditional holidays and festivals, but they’ve stepped up in a major way.
“We have been really quiet, but I feel like, with this epidemic, we want to help the community, reach out to the community to offer more help," Li said.
Many of the group's members have family back in China. Li says they've been in contact with them and are now working to help the Idaho Falls community with what they’ve learned.
"All these cautions we want to share with our community people. And this is a really bad disease, but don't panic. We need to stay calm, we’re all in this together, so we want to help with whatever we could do."
The group has also been using a few motos during recent weeks, including "United we shall overcome," as well as "Stay brave and bold - We are in this together."