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Amani Family Services to use COVID-19 grant to educate immigrant and refugee communities about vaccine

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21)- Seven nonprofits in the city are receiving COVID-19 relief grants and one of them is Amani Family Services.

"We are so thrilled I am personally so thrilled that the city of Fort Wayne is in trusting us with those funds," CEO Irene Paxia said.

She says this grant is going to help so many people in the community. She says it is difficult for immigrants or refugees to navigate this pandemic in a foreign country. Using the money from the grant, they plan to hire another staff member to help better educate these communities.

"What the money will do it will allow us to gain some capacity with the entire community to educate everybody around vaccination and then we continue to provide equipment such as masks," Paxia said.

ABC21 also spoke with three volunteers for Amani Family Services, Juan Pelzano, Angel Campos and Atchima Mahamat-Zene. They were all born outside of the U.S. and now advocate for their communities here in Fort Wayne. They know firsthand the difference this grant will make.

Amani, with their financial assistance they will be able to help some of these people, and also with the PPE they go to these communities and they make sure that these small communities of immigrants have what they need to protect themselves," Campos said.

They say there is so much misinformation that it becomes hard for some to differentiate the truth from a lie. Especially now with the vaccine is being distributed.

"It takes a lot of education for people to understand and be able to even remove the misconception about the virus and where to get the vaccine, and where to get vaccinated in the future," Mahamat-Zene said.

They have high hopes for the help this grant will provide and will continue to help Amani Family Services along the way.

"Amani is one of those organizations that helps regardless and I really like that about Amani and they try to reach and they try to do good things in a world full of bad things, Amani is a great organization," Campos said.

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Arielle Cadet

Arielle Cadet joined WPTA in August 2019. The Atlanta, Georgia native graduated from the University of Missouri and serves as Weekend Anchor/MMJ for ABC21. Feel free to connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or shoot her an email at

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