Detroit Pistons proud to assist Zaman International be a ‘lighthouse’ for the poor during COVID-19 crisis

Najah Bazzy
Najah Bazzy
Pistons photo
by Vince Ellis
Special for Pistons.com

As a veteran nurse, Najah Bazzy could see the approaching storm.

The CEO and founder of Zaman International, a non-profit dedicated to assisting women and children living in poverty, started convening meetings in late February, nearly three weeks before Gov. Whitmer announced a stay-at-home order for the state of Michigan to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. The order was extended Thursday afternoon.

With clients losing jobs and revenue streams expected to dry up, the meetings produced a conclusion.

Food services would be the top need for those looking to Zaman for help.

Bazzy used a basketball analogy when speaking with Pistons.com this week.

“If I’m the head coach, then for me, the donors are the owners and our clients and the people that we take care of, we have to have a slam dunk for them, I have to do that so I can’t let anybody down,” she said.

“It’s time to be a lighthouse in the darkness this virus has caused.”

With the assistance of the Detroit Pistons, Wayne County government, Gleaners Community Food Bank and other partners, Zaman has sprung into action.

The Inkster-based non-profit converted its facility into an emergency food distribution center.

Bazzy estimates 2,500 emergency food boxes have been delivered since the crisis began. The boxes can feed a family of four for a week to two weeks.

The non-profit also operates a drive-through pickup service for the boxes.

And at the same time, Zaman continues to make social workers available to offer mental support for those grieving for lost loved ones and those who are food insecure.
And job training programs continue.

But there is belt-tightening since the stay-at-home order forced the closing of the organization’s thrift store and the canceling of two fundraising events. Bazzy estimates a budget shortfall of $175,000 for several months, which has forced the furloughs of 10 employees, leaving 22.

Donations are needed which makes Bazzy grateful to the Pistons and others.

“This is what Detroit is,” Bazzy said. “I’m a daughter of Detroit. I was born and raised right on the border, but this the kind of compassion the city has. We are champs.
“We are comeback kids and so the donation for me, it meant so much to me.”

For more information on how to assist Zaman International, go to https://www.zamaninternational.org/.

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