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Struggling families encouraged by unexpected support

A worker at the American Arab & Chaldean Council food pantry organizes stock.

“Since March, the population we serve has evolved from working poor to working class,” said Odie Fakhouri, chief operating officer at Arab American & Chaldean Council (AACC). “The shift in demographic is shocking.”

AACC provides a variety of services to the community including behavioral health, a WIC program, employment training and more. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the organization’s food distribution center – one of the largest in Detroit—has become their resource with the highest demand.

To help AACC with the increased demand, The Children’s Foundation granted $10,000 from their COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. AACC used these dollars to leverage an opportunity for other funders to match the amount, successfully raising a total of $20,000.

“Our community is so grateful for the help that we provide, but as we talk to them at our curbside pickup or during behavioral health sessions, we keep hearing they are worried about their ability to support their families.”

To help relieve financial stress, Fakhouri and his team identified 100 of their families in the greatest need and distributed a $200 gift VISA gift card to each; the direct support helped pay for groceries and other essentials during an uncertain time.

“AACC strives to improve individuals’ well-being and with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our services have never been more essential,” said Fakhouri. “We are thankful to The Children’s Foundation for acting quickly, providing us with funding so we can offer extra support and hope to our hardest hit families.”

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