A record 800 supporters of Zaman International came to Dearborn’s Ford Field Park on Sept. 24 to run, walk, eat, and raise $35,000 for Metro Detroit’s most vulnerable women and children, making the organization’s 2016 Hope For Humanity Run Walk Picnic the most successful in the event’s seven-year history.
Organizers attributed the strong turnout to glorious autumn weather, a yearlong marketing push by the new Zaman Detroit Run Team, and the addition of a 10K run and kids’ run complementing the annual 5K run and walk, family-friendly activities, and barbecue lunch that have made the event a community favorite. Attendance was up more than 40% over previous years and the funds raised, all of which will support Zaman’s crisis assistance, literacy and training programs, were more than double those raised last year. Among those in attendance were Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan’s 12th District, Dearborn City Council President Susan A. Dabaja, Inkster Councilman Jewell Jones, and Judge David Turfe of 20th District Court in Dearborn Heights, who served as event chair.
"The 2016 Run Walk Picnic exceeded all expectations,” Turfe said. “Everyone enjoyed an activity-filled day out with their family full of fun, exercise, laughter, great food and memories that will last forever!"
Event director and Zaman Detroit Run Team captain Ali Bazzi said organizers had “been planning for the event since late last year and from the beginning wanted to make it the most enjoyable event yet. We received a lot of positive feedback and saw many new faces which was great. The best was hearing adults and children alike say that they can’t wait for next year.”
Kelly Valente, who took first place in the women’s 5K, said the organizers’ hard work paid off.
"This is the second consecutive year I participated and I really enjoy running the route. It was well marked and the picnic and activities afterwards were great." Valente said.
Simon Cox, who ran the 10K, agreed.
“It was a great event,” Cox said. “Well organized – and a fun run.”
Kids were treated to pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, pumpkin decorating, basketball and tug of war challenges, and a photo both. Bazzi said the day was designed to offer plenty of fun – and remind guests of their plenty.
“This year’s theme was ‘local hope,’” Bazzi said. “We wanted everyone to have an enjoyable day but to also remember that there are many others in our community that are in dire need of basic necessities like food, shelter and clothing. Through Zaman’s local programs, all the proceeds from this year’s event will be going to assist people right here in Michigan.”
Zaman CEO and Founder Najah Bazzy expressed gratitude for the strong support the event received from new and repeat sponsors.
“Sponsorship for the Run Walk Picnic grows each year with attendance,” Bazzy noted. “The generosity of our sponsors makes this event possible and shows their commitment to strengthening Southeast Michigan by empowering struggling women and children.”
This year’s event was supported by Presenting Sponsors RE/MAX Team 2000 and Greenland Markets, Gold Sponsor Carhartt, and Silver Sponsors The Ann Arbor T-shirt Company, the City of Dearborn, the Detroit Medical Center, Omnex Accounting & Tax Services, Premier Cardiovascular Specialists PC, Rafic’s Falafel, Run Detroit, Saad Wholesale Meats, the University of Michigan Dearborn, Valassis, and Venture Title. Other sponsors included AXA Advisors, Cardiology and Vascular Associates, PC, Garden Foods, Henry Ford Health System, IHT Insurance Agency Group, LA Bistro, the Law Offices of Ashraf Al-Awamleh, PLLC, Mike and Nadia Ayoub, Mike Dorian Ford, Pat Milliken Ford, Sunoco Station on Ford and Inkster, Tim Holzer Ford, Tim Horton’s at Michigan Ave and Evergreen, Yogurtown, 1-888-TRASH-IT, and the $4 Magical Touch Car Wash.
Zaman International is a nonprofit organization committed to addressing the basic needs and empowerment of marginalized women and children locally and internationally. Founded in 1996 and incorporated in 2004, Zaman has to date assisted more than 125,000 people in Southeast Michigan with food, clothing, furniture, utility assistance, infant burial, and other essential needs, while providing humanitarian relief, disaster response, and access to safe drinking water to an additional 600,000 across the world through international activities and partnerships. Since 2016, Zaman has operated out of the Hope For Humanity Center, a 40,500-square-foot facility in Inkster that houses its crisis assistance, vocational training and life skills programs. For more information, please visit www.zamaninternational.org.