INL supports local Chinese community's COVID-19 outreach

INL supports local Chinese community's COVID-19 outreach

One Idaho Falls group had coronavirus on their radar long before others in the area realized how serious it was. The Idaho Falls Chinese Community, or IFCC, is a group of locals who hold close ties to both Idaho Falls and China. They often gather to celebrate together during Chinese holidays. The group is made up of approximately 200 people “from all walks of life.” They are our community’s scientists and engineers from the Idaho National Laboratory, our faculty and students, Melaleuca employees, and restaurant owners and staff.

“We all love Idaho Falls area and enjoy living in the warm and friendly community,” said Chenlin Li, a senior scientist at the Idaho National Laboratory,

After seeing the virus hit first their communities in China and now their communities in Idaho Falls, the group wanted to do something to help.

“We feel a strong responsibility to support our local communities and the critical service people who are battling the pandemic on the front line. We have reached out to hospitals, police department, fire department, and nursing homes for their needs, which include face masks for hospitals and hand sanitizers (and) wipes for (the) police department and nursing homes,” Li said.

After organizing a fundraiser within their group, the IFCC raised $9,500 and collected 200 masks in less than a week. The masks were then donated to local hospitals.

They used approximately $5,500 of the funds to purchase additional masks from other countries, and are working on using an additional $1,000 to purchase cleaning products from Melaleuca. Those masks and cleaning products will also be donated.

“We plan to donate the rest of raised funds (about $3,000) to the community commitment fund initiated by Bank of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory to help local nonprofit and community individuals in need or solve immediate issues caused by COVID-19,” Li said.

Members of the IFCC are also encouraging Idaho Falls residents to read a guidebook to handling COVID-19 that was put together by Chinese experts and doctors who witnessed the virus firsthand. The guidebook can be read here.

“Although each country’s process (of) dealing with this pandemic might be different, we believe there (is) lots of valuable knowledge and experience that could be beneficial to the hospitals, medical responders and urgent care centers here,” Li said.

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