Bridgeview, Ill. (March 22) — In a nationwide initiative, Zakat Foundation of America has announced Friday it will provide people in need with food, hygiene kits and mental health Webtherapy.
“We know how hard the Coronavirus pandemic has hit so many of our neighbors, so our organization is making food baskets and hygiene kits available to them at our headquarters and regional locations, or we’ll deliver it if people are too sick or unable to come to our locations,” said Halil Demir, Zakat Foundation’s executive director.
The program launched Friday in the Chicago area, and is set to launch Monday, March 23, at four of the international charity’s U.S. offices in Southern California, North Carolina, Delaware and St. Louis.
“Very importantly, our mental health arm, Khalil Center, is ready to provide a comprehensive suite of consultation programs for anyone who feels the need to talk to a professional about anxiety or their isolation, or who’s urgently in need of help.”
“There’s a secondary contagion to Covid-19,” said Dr. Hooman Keshavarzi, Khalil Center’s executive director. “Panic and anxiety combined with forced social isolation and social distancing — the sudden, unpredicted change has drastically impacted all of our lives, resulting in detrimental mental health effects, especially given the uncertainty of how long such measures will remain in place.”
Khalil Center provides strong webtherapy services, informational videos with practical steps for family and self-care in light of COVID-19 (www.youtube.com/khalilcenter), and a crisis line that offers both live chat and call-in options via website or phone (1-855-5HELPKC).
Zakat Foundation staff and volunteers are filling 10,000 lunch boxes and family food baskets for distribution, with 1,000 ready for pick up now at its Bridgeview, Ill., headquarters near Chicago (1-708-233-0555).
As a member of National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), Zakat Foundation has also packaged a similar number of hygiene kits for people in hardship.
Family food baskets contain rice, pasta noodles and sauce, mashed potatoes, soup cups, oatmeal, canned tuna, beans, vegetables, cereal, mac and cheese, saltine crackers, creamy peanut butter, grape jelly, vanilla wafers, honey and sugar.
Lunch boxes include a tuna pouch with club crackers; water, a sports beverage, or iced tea; pudding or fruit cup, and chips; a Nutri-Grain bar or mixed nuts; a chocolate bar; and napkin and silverware pack.
Zakat Foundation staff and volunteers will deliver packs to individuals, churches, or community centers in a 25-mile radius for those who can’t reach distribution centers.
“We’ve already notified local authorities of our program, and they know how to help people get to us,” Demir said. “If anyone needs delivery, or wants to arrange a pick up, we’ve got a toll-free line they can call.” The number to call is 1-888-ZAKATUS, or 1-888-925-2887.
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In 2021, 94¢ from each dollar donated went directly toward programs serving those in need. 3¢ went to administrative costs & 3¢ went to fundraising costs.