On September 20, 2016, the AECDC was one of 20 organizations honored by the Karma Foundation as part of their "20 for 20 Awards," celebrating their 20 years of supporting services for infants, sick children, the homeless, victims of domestic violence and veterans, and covering basic needs, literacy, mental health, legal, and artistic programs. Each organization received $10,000.
The Karma Foundation has made financial donations annually to the AECDC for over 10 years. This additional award to the AECDC read: "In recognition of this New Brunswick-based organization that annually serves 1,000 low-income families regardless of age, race, religion, national origin or ethnicity, providing free diapers, formula and baby clothes and durable medical equipment, as well as assistance with filing applications for other basic needs such as health insurance."
Many thanks to the Karma Foundation for its continued and generous support.
Pictured, left to right: Dana Karmazin Elkins, Executive Director of the Karma Foundation; Deborah Cherniss, President of AECDC; and Sharon Karmazin, President of the Foundation.
Recently we were contacted by a social worker at a local hospital. The worker was concerned about a young woman who has had numerous complications with Type 1 Diabetes throughout her life. In the past year, she had had more than a dozen emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
Completely dependent on her parents, this young woman had become depressed and withdrawn, and had stopped engaging with people. The family had to deal with the financial burden of the client's medical expenses as well as trying to manage her physical and mental health issues. The situation was extremely stressful for all of them.
Once the family received the news that we would be providing them with a transport wheelchair, they were thrilled. In fact, the social worker reported that the client actually began to interact socially. The family was very relieved and appreciative that we were able to ease their financial burden, and in a way that had a positive emotional impact as well. In their words, "the assistance we provided reduced their stress tremendously."
- With a budget of $98,000, 619 families with 1,178 children, were served through BEST between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. These families are counted only once, when first referred, no matter how many times they make requests.
- Together, these 619 families made 1,959 requests for services, and we were able to fill 95% of these requests. The lowest fulfillment rate was for formula, where we met only 72% of requests; for all other supplies and referrals we came close to 100% of requests met.
- Diapers were most requested, by 527 families (we distributed over 63,000 diapers)
- 478 families received baby clothes
- 200 children received holiday gifts, provided by AEMT members and agencies who “adopted” the children
- 156 families were enrolled in NJ Family Care (health insurance)
- 145 parents attended our workshops on how to apply for family health insurance and nutrition programs.
- 140 received car seats
- Families saved a total of $67,500, with an average of $109 per family.
In the past five years, we have served over 3,350 families through BEST, ranging by year from 596 families (2013-2014) to 785 families (2011-2012).
Full details of our BEST accomplishments are described in our BEST Annual Report for 2015-2016.