A GROUP of Irish people living in China have raised over €20,000 to send Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Ireland to help those in need.
Irish community group Le Chéile in Shanghai, which helps people settle into the city as well as organising events and meet ups, raised the phenomenal amount of money after launching an appeal on social media.
As reported by RTÉ News, the head of Le Chéile, primary school teacher Fíona Sheahan, posted the fundraising appeal to Chinese social media platform WeChat where the flyer stated "our front line workers are in urgent need of personal protective equipment (PPE) at home."
"We are all extremely worried about everyone at home so we thought we could do our bit by sending PPE equipment home to Ireland."
"The Consulate has suppliers here and a distributor in Dublin that will help us, and transport out will be arranged but we need to raise the funds!"
Fíona told RTÉ News that the community group had expected to raise a few thousand, but to raise €22,000 in just four days was extraordinary.
In light of several countries having sent back some PPE from China as it was not fit for use, Fíona reassured those with concerns that the suppliers the Embassy work with are well established, that all the equipment is CE-approved, and that they had turned down offers from factories who did not have established links to the Irish Embassy in China.
She told RTÉ News that "quality was our main thing-- it's obviously not to be taken lightly".
The first consignment of Personal Protective Gear is currently on its way to Ireland, where Dublin-based homeless charity Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) will receive a total of 5,000 items of PPE.
CEO of the charity, Councillor Anthony Flynn, told the outlet that the ICHH is in dire need of the equipment, with many clients, particularly the elderly, requesting protective gear such as masks.
Volunteers sending out food parcels also require gloves while handling food, and volunteers in the city's homeless hostels will require masks as they support the 4,000 people living in homeless hostels throughout the country.
Councillor Flynn has said that nine people who are in contact with the homeless services have tested positive for Covid-19 thus far.
A total of 95 people are still living on the streets in Dublin, according to Councillor Flynn.