In response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, ACCESS—the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the nation—has restructured its service delivery to continue to provide necessary services to the community, while ensuring their safety and well-being. For the first time in the organization’s nearly 50-year history, much of its operations have had to shift to a remote model, challenging the community nonprofit to seek innovative and evolving methods to meet the needs of those who rely on its services.
“While the future of where our world will be in a month, five months or even a year seems uncertain, one thing remains absolutely clear: Our commitment to one another,” said ACCESS Executive Director Maha Freijr. “Nothing changes for us. We continue to do what we have always done: Serve, advocate for and uplift those that need us more than ever.”
Over the past several weeks, ACCESS has offered both drive-through and mobile COVID-19 testing to healthcare workers and first responders. This joint effort with Wayne State University (WSU) and Wayne State University Physician Group, and later including Ford Motor Company, allowed for the testing of nearly 4,000 individuals, enabling the return of nearly 3,200 to the frontlines. Mobile testing has taken place in southeast Michigan, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids and is expected to branch out to other regions of the state.
“When we look back at this defining moment in history, it is truly gratifying to see how many incredible institutions have stepped up to be a small part of helping our frontline heroes fight against this pandemic,” said ACCESS Chief Operating Officer Lina Hourani-Harajli.
Since the onslaught of the pandemic, three of ACCESS’ locations—the Arab American National Museum (AANM), ACCESS headquarters in Dearborn and ACCESS’ Detroit location—have provided free packaged dinners for Dearborn and Detroit students to supplement breakfast and lunch services normally handled by local school districts, resulting in more than 12,000 meals that have been provided to those children most in need. The organization has also provided remote learning to thousands of virtual contacts, including students and parents of students, from pre-K to 12th grade. Additionally, ACCESS has raised more than $70,000 to provide food and basic needs for local families.
As unemployment numbers continue to grow nationwide, ACCESS has assisted more than 4,000 individuals in applying for unemployment and basic needs support. Its tele-health services have been active and accessible as well, providing 5,300 children, adults, families and domestic violence, sexual assault and torture survivors with virtual therapy, tele-psych and case management services.
Since mid-March, ACCESS has been sharing bilingual COVID-related resources from the Center for Disease Control and federal and state governments, in addition to ACCESS-translated resources. The Arab American National Museum (AANM), one of ACCESS’ three national institutions, has also shifted its programming to online platforms, connecting the world-class artists it presents with national audiences through virtual events, as well as providing educational resources for children and parents.
ACCESS services will continue to be offered remotely for the foreseeable future. For more information on ACCESS and all of its programs, please call 313-842-7010 or visit https://www.accesscommunity.org/ and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- Written and submitted by ACCESS’ communication department, edited for style by The Arab American News
-About ACCESS: Grounded in a grassroots commitment to empowerment, ACCESS is the largest Arab American community nonprofit in the U.S., with a 49-year history of nonprofit of excellence.