Church Donates 1,900 Masks to UConn Health, More on the Way

The Chinese Baptist Church of Greater Hartford has donated 1,900 masks to UConn Health, with more on the way.

UConn researchers are working on a project that uses large health care datasets in Connecticut to help medical providers better identify when patients could be at risk of attempting suicide. (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health photo)

The Chinese Baptist Church of Greater Hartford has donated 1,900 surgical and medical masks to the UConn Health and ordered 31,000 more from China to be distributed to UConn’s John Dempsey Hospital and other Hartford-area hospitals.

Several volunteers in the church’s congregation arranged the delivery after discussing how they could help medical workers on the frontline of the coronavirus (COVID-19) battle. They decided to reach out to friends in China try to find mask suppliers, says Dr. Ching Lau, a member of the congregation who holds joint appointments as professor of pediatrics at UConn Health, professor at Jackson Laboratory, and chief of hematology-oncology at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

“We know that the supply chain is kind of tight in the U.S.,” he says. “Because we have members who came from mainland China who have connections, we reached out to some suppliers in China. We asked if there was a chance for us to purchase some equipment and bring it over here to donate to nearby hospitals.”

A man holding a cardboard box full of surgical masks, a donation for UConn Health.
A delivery of masks for UConn Health. (Courtesy of the UConn Foundation)

The most recent shipment was delivered to UConn Health last week and the rest are expected to arrive in about a week. The church plans to distribute the larger shipment to UConn Health, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and other Hartford-area hospitals as well as rehabilitation centers and nursing homes, Lau explains.

“We are incredibly grateful to the Chinese Baptist Church of Greater Hartford for donating this critical equipment to protect our staff,” says Andrew Agwunobi, MD, CEO of UConn Health and executive vice president for health affairs.

Lau says the 220 members of the Bloomfield-based church are committed to living out their faith in the community through action.

“This goes along with the vision of the church that we’re not supposed to be living inside an ivory tower. We are supposed to be going out there in the community,” he says.

Individuals and groups can donate personal protective equipment (PPE) and/or make a charitable gift to the UConn Health COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund here.  Email for more information.