The American Buddhist Confederation (ABC) donated an ambulance to the Maimonides Medical Center of Brooklyn, New York, on 11 August. The ambulance, a 2020 Mercedes Demers high-top Sprinter van, was part of a US$120,000 donation to the medical center, which includes funds for additional COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs for Chinese communities throughout the borough.
Speaking at the acceptance ceremony, Maimonides Medical Center president and CEO Kenneth Gibbs said: “This generous donation will improve our response and medical transfer capabilities and help our efforts to directly address COVID-19 right here in Brooklyn.” (Brooklyn Reporter)
Janice Yang, director of Asian Outreach for the hospital, added: “This funding helps us directly engage with our community and allows us to connect the incredible care we provide with more of our neighbors.” (Brooklyn Reporter)
The ambulance is designated to facilitate the transfer of patients from the hospital’s main campus to its cancer center. Additionally, it will be present when needed at events in the Chinese community, offer educational outreach and health screenings, and transport medical materials.
“We believe that only if we work together and help each other, we can overcome coronavirus and have the final victory in fighting [the] pandemic,” said American Buddhist Confederation president Ming Yu. “Despite the relentless disasters we are facing, our world is filled with love.” (Brooklyn Reporter)
Brooklyn’s borough president Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor, also spoke at the ceremony, saying:
As we look to boost vaccination rates, it is essential that we deploy credible messengers in different communities who speak a language that local residents can understand. This new ambulance, coupled with the funding for testing and vaccines focused on Brooklyn’s Chinese community, are critically needed steps in our fight against this virus that should be replicated across the five boroughs. (Brooklyn Reporter)
The ceremony follows a growing track record of the ABC’s commitment to serving their community through supporting health services.
Ven. Ming Yu. From interfaithcenter.org
Last year, Ven. Ming Yu was awarded the Faith Justice Interfaith Award for his efforts to deliver emergency PPE supplies to hospitals in New York City during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement on 22 June 2020, the Interfaith Center of New York praised Ven. Ming Yu, noting: “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.”*
Brooklyn, and New York City more broadly, was an early epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. The city reported its first death from COVID-19 on 14 March 2020. According to a 1 June 2020 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the borough accounted for over 5,560 of the city’s 18,679 official COVID-19-caused deaths, second only to 5,882 lives lost in neighboring Queens. Today, the city, like much of the US, is experiencing a deadly fourth wave of the pandemic due to the highly infectious Delta variant of the novel coronavirus. According to World Health Organization data, the US has had some 36,777,391 coronavirus infections and 671,628 confirmed deaths.