RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – A group chat about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a donation of more than $1,000 to the UTRGV Student Food Pantry and 1,000 face masks to the McAllen and Edinburg Police Departments.

In a press release from the Newsroom at UTRGV, it took the Chinese Student & Scholar Association at UTRGV just a few days to raise the funds, after the discussion started on WeChat, a messaging and social media app.

Dr. Lin Jiang, assistant professor in the UTRGV School of Social Work, and former chair Dr. Ben Xu, assistant professor in the UTRGV Mechanical Engineering Department, organized the fundraiser.

Jiang said generosity is part of the Chinese culture.

Xu said they realized some university students won’t have any income because of the COVID-19 pandemic and won’t have money to buy groceries.

“A lot of people in this group chat, they are UTRGV faculty, so we definitely care for our students,” he said.

The release added, while the Chinese Student & Scholar Association at UTRGV led the initiative, Xu said, donors also included group members’ family and friends and other members of the Chinese community.