by Marilyn Peh on

For Redditor mellowminister, the shortage of face masks amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore goes beyond just a concern for personal safety.

His father, who has cancer, has been going to the hospital for his chemotherapy. Doctors advised his father to have a face mask on when he goes out but to the family’s dismay, he has not been able to find any face masks, even at the hospital when he went for his last session three weeks ago.

In a post put up three days ago, mellowminister said he was worried that given the shortage in supply, they would soon run out of face masks for his father.

He wrote: “We’ve used up the four pieces that the government gave out long ago, and if this situation goes on, my father will have no masks to protect him from viruses. It’s not a 100% protection, but at least we feel safer when he wears them when he’s out.”

Desperate, mellowminister’s family members had tried various means to procure face masks for their father, to no avail.

He wrote: “My sibling went out to source and ended up getting scammed with fake two-ply masks at exorbitant prices, I tried searching at every thrift store and drugstore that I passed by, but it was either no masks or shady-looking ones. In fact, an acquaintance gave my father some ‘medical grade’ masks which turned out to be non three-ply ones which we could see through easily.”

At his wits’ end, he sought advice from the Reddit community on how best to ensure his cancer-stricken father be protected from the virus.

Image Source: Shutterstock / Sata Production

To his surprise, he received more than just words of advice, as Redditors came forward immediately with offers of help.

Many said they were willing to give him their personal stash of face masks, which ranged from just a few to a box of 50.

One even offered to help source for masks from overseas, writing: “I have a friend coming from India on Sunday. If you want, I can try asking him if he can get 3M respirator masks, at whatever price they are available in India.”

In addition, some offered suggestions on how mellowminister could get masks locally, from approaching his town council, to contacting Contribute.sg, which supplies donated masks to those who need them.

The touching sight of so many coming forward was not lost on one Redditor, who commented: “So heartwarming to see redditors extending help. We aren’t Stinkaporeans after all.”

Mellowminister had the same view, as he shared in an update that he had received many direct messages from other Redditors, all offering support in some way or other.

“Sincerely grateful and touched by all of you. Thank you but we should [be able to] tide through another two weeks, and we hope to not have to rely on anyone’s supply for now. Hopefully the supplies resume soon, and we will be able to get some on our own. Really appreciate all your kind gestures!”