Ven. Ming Yu, president of the American Buddhist Confederation (ABC), was yesterday awarded the Faith Justice Interfaith Award for his early and tireless efforts to deliver emergency PPE supplies to various hospitals in New York City, amid the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
In conferring the award during the 18th James Parks Morton Interfaith Awards Gala on 22 June, the Interfaith Center of New York recognized Ven. Ming Yu’s efforts to mobilize his community to distribute desperately needed supplies to hospitals, police and fire stations, and low-income households throughout New York City.
“Collectively, your temples brought supplies to numerous hospitals across the boroughs, and you showed great leadership and collaboration with local civic leaders, who stepped in to help as a result of your generosity,” the Interfaith Center of New York stated. (Interfaith Center of New York)
Since 31 March, the ABC has successfully distributed supplies to a long list of hospitals and other frontline institutions fighting COVID-19. These include: 3,200 surgical masks to the Brooklyn Borough DA Office; 840 N95 masks and 60 pairs of protective goggles to Mount Sinai Hospital; 3,600 surgical masks, 250 protective gowns, 60 protective goggles, and 3,000 medical gloves to Elmhurst Hospital; and 800 surgical masks, 2,500 medical gloves, and 75 protective gowns to Dove Police Department in New Jersey. (Interfaith Center of New York)
The ABC sounded the alarm relatively early on in the US, while the outbreak was spreading rapidly throughout China. The ABC organized an appeal for PPE donations for the outbreak city of Wuhan on 27 January, with US$20,000-worth of medical supplies arriving in China on 21 February. Two months later, COVID-19 had become a global pandemic, with New York City hit hard as the epicenter.
“Without hesitation, Ven. Ming Yu called on the member temples and friends to show their loving kindness and helping hands to help New Yorkers get through the COVID-19 Pandemic.” (Interfaith Center of New York)
By the end of March, “more than US$120,000-worth of donations were received for purchasing medical supplies for the first responders and frontline workers because there was a severe shortage of personal protective equipment.” (Interfaith Center of New York)
By this time, the ABC’s anti-COVID-19 task force had gathered an estimated US$342,551-worth of N95 masks, surgical masks, protective gowns, protective face shields, protective goggles, and medical gloves. These supplies were subsequently distributed across New York City by three teams from the organization.
The pandemic has continued to ravage the US, to date taking the lives of more than 120,000 people. There is no unified federal answer to the pandemic, resulting in a patchwork response from individual states and governors, and divergent outcomes from region to region in handling the overall rising number of cases. For example, New York City and the state of New York have managed to bring the virus under control, but cases have risen dramatically in states such as Arizona, Florida, and Texas, which do not mandate mask-wearing. Michelle Goldberg of The New York Times writes: “Worse, until last week, the governors of Arizona and Texas prevented cities from instituting their own such requirements.” And further notes: “At the beginning of the crisis Trump acted as if he could wish the coronavirus away, and after an interval when he at least pretended to take it seriously, his administration has resumed a posture of blithe denial.” (The New York Times)
Ven. Ming Yu of American Buddhist Confederation on fighting the COVID-19 Pandemic (Interfaith Center of New York)
2020 James Parks Morton Interfaith Awards Gala (Interfaith Center of New York)
America Is too Broken to Fight the Coronavirus (The New York Times)