Unwavering Spirit & Support from Community | Police and Fire Departments Receive PPE Donations

In the courtyard at City Hall on Thursday, the South Pasadena Chinese American PTA generously donated personal protective equipment (PPE) for South Pasadena Police and Fire Department personnel and essential city staff to wear on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | On Thursday morning, members of the South Pasadena Chinese American PTA donated a large assortment of PPE products to the South Pasadena Police and Fire Departments at City Hall

Over concerns of its spread, the advice hasn’t wavered as health officials have stressed the importance of washing hands, practicing social distancing and sanitizing shared surfaces to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | A stack of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) being donated to city services

Everyone, it seems, has stepped into the moment and done what they can to put an end to the pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to take its toll on the world, the number of cases in the United States and locally in Los Angeles County continue to grow, leaving citizens everywhere, including many South Pasadenans, wanting to help make a difference during a time of need.

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Among those pitching in is a newly-formed group – South Pasadena Chinese-American PTA – headed by Melissa Cheng, who has set-up a GoFundme account to purchase personal protective equipment  (PPE) items, including masks, gloves and gowns and more for first responders – the South Pasadena police and fire departments, city staff and healthcare workers at area hospitals to wear on the front lines during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Gofundme donations will help to let all the residents of South Pasadena know that it is everyone’s responsibility to stop the spread of the virus,” explained Cheng. “People should do whatever they can help the frontline fighters.”

On Thursday morning, Cheng and her team of supporters donated a large assortment of PPE products to South Pasadena Fire Department Division Chief Eric Zanteson and Joe Ortiz, the city’s police chief, during a brief ceremony in the courtyard at City Hall.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPPD Chief Joe Ortiz graciously accepts donations from the community at City Hall

South Pasadena Mayor Robert Joe opened his remarks by reading a statement from Council member Michael Cacciotti, who was unable to attend, but wanted to extend his appreciation for the generous donation.

“I am so grateful to Melissa and all of the South Pasadena Chinese American parents for donating this vital protective gear to our city,” Cacciotti said in the statement.  “Their altruistic actions are symbolic of South Pasadena’s reputation for stepping up to help our community in times of need.  It comes at an important moment as the number of cases in L.A. County continue to rise as testing finally starts to increase.  These items will be used not only by our first responders (police and fire), but also our other employees who still come to work to provide essential services to our residents.”

The personal protective equipment will protect both city staff and citizens from the outbreak and “help us do our part to reduce the spread and level the curve,” added Cacciotti.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Mayor Bob Joe and members of the SPPD and SPFD thank Cheng and others for their contributions on Thursday, April 9, in the courtyard of City Hall

As the pandemic continues and the numbers of those infected with the virus soar, Joe took a moment to assure community members that the South Pasadena police and fire departments are fully staffed and ready to respond to all emergency calls.

“They have prepared for this outbreak and procedures have been put in place to protect our first responders as well as the public from COVID-19,” he said. “We know that these are trying and uncertain times for our community, and we appreciate and thank our South Pasadena residents for diligently following the County health orders to stay home, practice social distancing and wearing face coverings while out in public to help stop the spread of this deadly virus.”

Joe stressed how grateful he was for the generosity of the South Pasadena Chinese American PTA for its donation, along with many South Pasadena community members, and organizations that have stepped up when the world has been turned upside down.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPFD Division Chief, Eric Zaneston thanks the Chinese American PTA for their donations

South Pasadena Fire Chief Paul Riddle and Ortiz, on behalf of the local police department, know the importance of the PPE gifts. “This donation of PPE’s is very much appreciated and comes at a perfect time,” said Riddle.  With supplies of PPE’s getting more and more scarce this will help to replenish the stockpile for our police officers and firefighters so they can continue to serve the community through this difficult time. We are all in this together and both departments are committed to be there for the community as we get through this!”

Ortiz feels much the same way about the group’s generosity, noting: “We are grateful to the South Pasadena Chinese American parents group for their selfless donation to your Public Safety Team. This equipment comes at a great time, as we prepare for the next wave of exposures to hit the west coast. We will make sure that our first responders and city staff deploy this much needed equipment to ensure we all remain safe and healthy. We are blessed to be able to work in a community that is so supportive during this pandemic crisis. We will get through this, together.”

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Cheng and company with Mayor Robert Joe and members of the Police and Fire Departments

With children now at home with schools closed and parents working from home, like millions, Cheng is anxious to get to a post-coronavirus world. Even then, warn health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, life may not be what the public remembered before the virus caused havoc for millions.

“If ‘back to normal’ means acting like there never was a coronavirus problem, I don’t think that’s going to happen until we do have a situation where you can completely protect the population,” said Fauci during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. “But when you say ‘getting back to normal,’ we mean something very different from what we’re going through right now, because right now we are in a very intense mitigation. When we get back to normal, we will go back gradually to the point where we can function as a society.”

Waiting for that day is Cheng, who patiently joins millions in the wait, as she continues to raise funds for PPE supplies, helping first responders and hospitals in her commitment.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Cheng and supports drop off the PPE supplies at City Hall

“I would like to thank all the parents and residents of South Pasadena who have contributed to our donation activity,” noted Cheng, who has been teaching Chinese language and culture part-time at South Pasadena High School since 2008. “Thank you for your sacrifice to help and save our community! We will combat this crisis for sure.”

The impact of the coronavirus has been enormous, not only in the number of cases, reaching more than 7,500 in Los Angeles County, 451,491 in the U.S. and 1.6 million worldwide on Thursday, but COVID-19 has altered life tremendously at home.

“Our kids have to stay home for the rest of school year,” reminded Cheng. “Kids are sad and depressed and scared, like my elder son who is a senior of SPHS and worrying about his graduation ceremony which might be cancelled as well. It will be sad to him as he only has one chance for this in his life! Parents like us have to comfort him, which is also stressful to us. Some parents not only are losing their jobs, but it’s also hard to manage their kid’s daily life.  It is horrible to all of us.”

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Lieutenants Shannon Robledo and Tom Jacobs of the South Pasadena Police Department

A local resident since 2009, Cheng admires South Pasadenans who continue to make a difference, donating their time and energy to so many causes, especially her crusade when support is crucially needed.  “We are a supportive community!” she said. “I hope more parents will join our Chinese-American PTA.”

At the conclusion of Thursday’s ceremony, the mayor thanked some of the city’s other volunteer organizations that have provided a helping hand since a “safer at home” order by the state was launched, including:

South Pasadena Rotary Club – Has provided 10 grants for local struggling restaurants.

Holy Family Catholic Church Giving Bank – More than 150 grocery bags weekly to community members in need.

South Pasadena Volunteer Grocery Shoppers – Helping the homebound and seniors with grocery and prescription pick up.

The Shower of Hope – Taking care of the homeless hygiene and shower needs.

Senior Meals on Wheels – Provides more than 65 hot lunches daily.

“We appreciate the unwavering support and generosity our community groups have shown,” said Joe, who closed his remarks, poignantly saying, “Kindness is still in business.”

For those who would like to contribute to the GoFundme, visit: gofundme.com/f/for-doctors-and-nurses-fighting-against-covid191