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China Alumni Send Care Packages to I-House NY

In a generous act of care for the International House community, a group of I-House NYC Alumni in China have raised funds to purchase face masks for I-House to distribute in New York. The group, in concert with International House Trustee at Large John Pek ’68, was led by Yuan Wang ’08 and included Owen Liu ’10, Chao Yu ’10 and Barbara Yu, Maggie Sun ’15, and others in Shanghai and Beijing. The shipment of 6000 masks–5000 from the I-House Alumni group and 1000 from the Columbia Alumni Association of Greater China–arrived this past week and was immediately made available to staff and residents. Each package arrived adorned with an illustration depicting the I-House Spirit done by David Liu, the 15-yr-old son of Maggie Sun and Yiyong Liu. The masks were received with great appreciation, and their distribution integrated into the many precautionary measures I-House has implemented over the last few months in order to protect its residents and staff. Recognized now as the epicenter of the pandemic, New York City continues to struggle with the spread and impact of COVID-19; recently the State of New York mandated the use of facial coverings in public as social distancing has remained a challenge in a city with such a dense population and a high need for essential services. In addition to the masks, the Alumni organized a group gift to the I-House Emergency Fund, which had been activated in March 2020 to help residents who relocated due to the closure of the South Building and assist those who were unable to safely undertake a move due to unanticipated expenses.  To date, I-House distributed more than $130,000 to help with transportation, short-term lodging, relocation expenses and other obstacles, ensuring no resident was without a safe place to go. Said Pek in a note about the shipment, “We know you and all I-House colleagues made best efforts and did a great job for I-House and the I-House community. The residents of the South building were successfully relocated to safer accommodations.” He added, “I-House is our family.  Let’s work together to fight COVID-19, hand in hand, in the spirit of I-House.  We shall overcome it!” Prior to this shipment, I-House received two other donations of face masks, one from Songling Ren ‘14, and another from Yuan Wang. Accompanying Wang’s donation was a very touching letter from his teenaged son, Yipan Wang, who was born in the US when his father was a Resident at I-House. The letter states: “I hope that these face masks can provide protection against COVID-19 for the I-House community. What does not kill us makes us stronger!” The gesture was characterized as noble by International House President and CEO, Calvin Sims, who had the opportunity to meet with the group most recently in China at the International House Shanghai Gala in March 2019.
China Alumni and friends with I-House President Calvin Sims at the I-House Shanghai Gala in March 2019
In response to a heartfelt thanks expressed by Sims, Wang Yuan wrote on behalf of the group: “It’s our pleasure and honor to do something to support the residents, our House as well as the I-House community.  We hope our financial gift and face masks will be helpful to our House.  I-House is our family.”