Angelina Lue, a junior at Los Altos High School, was distracted from her online schoolwork last week after learning that a friend's mother was potentially exposed to COVID-19 while working at a nearby hospital. So she decided to help.
Lue said she'd heard that her friend's mom didn't have a mask to wear while working at a hospital in San Jose.
"I was really shocked by that," she said. "I could not think about other people in such high risk without doing anything to support them."
So she decided to start a fundraiser to raise money to buy masks and, potentially, other necessary medical supplies from a family friend who manufactures masks.
She identified three hospitals that need support: the Santa Clara Valley Medical Foundation, Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
Currently all three are accepting donations of medical supplies, according to donateppe.org, a website set up to match personal protective equipment donations with local health care providers.
Lue reached out on social media to her network of friends to see who wanted to help organize a fundraiser to purchase surgical masks for local hospitals.
Four other students joined her: Alicia Yim and Marie Godderis from Los Altos High School, Sheryl Chen from Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton and Paulina Harding, who attends Bishop O'Dowd High School in Oakland.
"As Bay Area teens who have experienced school shutdowns and witnessed resource shortages from this pandemic, we wanted to be a part of the solution," they wrote on the group's GoFundMe page.
Using their own social media accounts, they've been raising awareness about the problem and asking their friends and networks to consider helping them reach their $10,000 fundraising goal.
As soon as they raise the funds, she said, they will place an order with a manufacturer in China, based outside of Hubei Province. Many of the medical-grade mask manufacturers in China are in that province, which is also where the pandemic started.
"A lot of these factories were closed down during when COVID hit that area," she said, explaining that was part of why the supply is currently running so low. The factory they're in contact with says they anticipate supplies could be delivered in 7 to 10 days, she said.
As of Monday evening, March 23, within about 24 hours of the fundraiser's launch, the group had raised about $1,300.