Articles on Orthodox Christian Charity
September 16, 2010
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has expanded its distribution of emergency supplies to flood-ravaged areas of Pakistan. While water is receding in many areas of the country, the devastation caused to homes, infrastructure and farm land has left many people without adequate access to clean water, food and medical assistance. Aid provided by IOCC has focused on the medical needs, especially the threat of water-borne diseases, and immediate provision of food supplies through the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan.
In partnership with Medical Teams International, IOCC is providing two cholera kits to areas in the north of Pakistan. The kits will provide medical camps established in four of the hardest hit regions of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. Each cholera kit contains basic pharmaceuticals and supplies to treat up to 700 severe and moderate cases of cholera, including those affected by dysentery. The shipment, valued at $265,000, has been made possible through support from the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society.
"It was with great sadness that we learned of the loss of life and devastating destruction in Pakistan," remarked National Philoptochos President Aphrodite Skeadas, "and this contribution, through IOCC, demonstrates the generosity and will of our chapters throughout the country to assist the flood victims there."
The Order has published their Statement of Budgeted Project Contributions, for the fiscal years ending January 31, 2011 and 2012. The document is available as a PDF file at Projects Supported by the Order. The Statement from the Order budgets for total project contributions of $1,419,000 in 2011 and $1,233,000 in 2012.
August 25, 2010
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) began providing emergency supplies this week to people affected by fires in the Ryazan region of Central Russia. The response was made possible through a $5,000 gift from the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) and a $25,000 matching grant from the John G. Rangos Sr. Family Charitable Foundation.
Aid to the region southeast of Moscow will reach 640 people and includes personal hygiene kits, blankets, towels and bed linens. The relief is being provided in cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Round Table, an ecumenical forum for social service in Russia.
The grant from the John G. Rangos Sr. Family Charitable Foundation will support IOCC's aid projects in Russia by creating a matching gift program. The Foundation will match every dollar contributed to IOCC for relief projects in Russia up to $25,000. Rangos, a founder of IOCC, was instrumental in one of IOCC's first humanitarian missions – an airlift of relief supplies and medicines to Russia in 1992.
In addition to the gift from the Orthodox Church in America, His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah called upon parishes to provide support for the relief efforts. "I am also asking that members of the Orthodox Church in America offer financial assistance through IOCC, which will convey our donations to the appropriate Church partners and Church programs in Russia."
"We are grateful for the generous response of the Orthodox Church in America and John Rangos in response to the current urgent needs in Russia," said Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC Executive Director. "Their steadfast support for our work with the Russian Orthodox Church since the earliest days of IOCC continues to make a difference for those who are suffering."
August 12, 2010 Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Torrential rains and flooding over the course of July and early August have now affected an estimated 14 million people in Pakistan according to reports from the Government of Pakistan. Widespread flooding has devastated large parts of the country destroying homes, leaving people without food, clean water and shelter and exposing millions to the threat of disease.
In response to the emergency, IOCC has mobilized food assistance to vulnerable people in the flood affected communities of Wazirabad, Gujranwala and Faisalabad, Pakistan. The IOCC response is being coordinated with the Orthodox Mission in Pakistan with the blessing of His Eminence, Metropolitan Nektarios of Hong Kong and South East Asia.
"We pray for those who have perished and for the millions of people whose lives are threatened by this ongoing disaster," says IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou. "With rain continuing to fall, the magnitude of this disaster continues to grow and much more aid will be needed."
August 12, 2010 Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Experiencing the worst heat wave in Russia since record-keeping began more than 130 years ago, the Russian people have been suffering from uninterrupted high temperatures for the past 50 days and deteriorating air quality as a result of more than 500 active fires burning nationwide. News agencies have reported that more than 50 people have died so far from the fires and an estimated 5,000 others have died as a result of the heat and poor air quality in Western Russia.
International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), in consultation with the Orthodox Church in America, is working with its partners in the Russian Orthodox Church to formulate an appropriate IOCC response to this latest humanitarian crisis.
Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC Executive Director, expressed his concern at the situation, stating, "We pray for those who have died. Our thoughts and prayers go out to those mourning the loss of loved ones. We are also steadfast in our prayers for all who have been affected by the wildfires."
In addition to the immediate concern for the loss of life, it is estimated that approximately one third of Russia's wheat crop has burned. One of the world's largest exporters of wheat, Russia has suspended its wheat exports.
FOCUS North America volunteers, through local affiliates, have been busy this summer! In Orange County, southern California Orthodox Christians bagged food for some of the 20,000 children that are homeless county-wide. In the meantime, thirty volunteers from the Kansas City area drove nearly one thousand miles to North Carolina to work for needy families in the Bakersville region. In San Diego, in the shadows of the wealthy community of Coronado at the Coronado Island Bridge, twenty eight people from six parishes served meals to the homeless in an effort that will be ongoing on Wednesday nights. In a sweltering midwestern heat wave, FOCUS Minnesota served a meal at the end of July as they looked forward to the launch of their new center on Lake Street in Minneapolis; their doors are slated for opening on August 14, the day before the Feast of the Dormition.
Click here to read all the news from FOCUS.
Project Mexico, the pan-Orthodox organization that has been ministering to the poor of Tijuana since 1988, reports, "After the past three weeks of hard work, both sessions of OBT (Orthodox Basic Training) have ended and 10 new homes are built in Mexico! Project Mexico and St. Innocent Orphanage hosted roughly 150 people for OBT's 1st session June 22-28, and 110 for the 2nd session July 6-12. Volunteers came from a variety of places including New York, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Canada and more! Each Orthodox Basic Training session gave participants a unique experience to build a home in an impoverished area of Mexico, and unite with other Orthodox Christians from across the country while doing so."
Read the rest of the report here.
July 16, 2010
Baltimore, MD — Looking for a great back-to-school service project that will provide kids around the world with supplies that they desperately need? International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is challenging its supporters to assemble 10,000 school kits by September 2010 as part of its "Kits for Kids" campaign.
Parish youth leaders and Sunday School teachers can use "Kits for Kids" as a powerful way for children to learn how to serve others while providing supplies for some of the millions of children who lack items as basic as pencils and paper.
"The kits are so valuable, especially from the simple perspective of the kids getting something new and clean and useful that they could call their own," said an Orthodox priest in Haiti who works at a school that is supported by IOCC and who recently received a shipment of school kits.
IOCC, which has sent tens of thousands of school kits to children in need throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East, through a partnership with Church World Service (CWS), is reporting very low supplies of school kits at the warehouse in Maryland where they are stored.
Become part of the "Kits for Kids" campaign today! Help IOCC get 10,000 school kits to 10,000 children who need them desperately all over the world! Click here for complete instructions.
(Port-au-Prince, Haiti) – Marie and her daughter, Lovely, make a 4-hour, round trip journey each day from their home in the Delmas 10 area of Port-au-Prince to reach Foyer d’Amour (“House of Love”), a school for the developmentally disabled operated by the Orthodox Church that Marie calls, “a gift from God.” It is one of only five such schools in a country of 10 million, and International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) is equipping it with everything it needs – from teacher’s salaries to basic school supplies – to stay open.
As Haitians pass the six-month mark since the earthquake that devastated their country, such support is crucial for children, allowing them to continue their education and regain some normalcy.
On January 12, when the earthquake struck, Foyer d’Amour’s teachers and parents streamed in all night to check on the school. “So many schools had been destroyed, but Foyer d’Amour was special,” says Roseline, a teacher who has been with the school for 10 years. “Here we not only teach students skills they need to survive in society, but we provide a safe place that they do not have anywhere else.”
The school was severely damaged by the quake, so teachers built a temporary facility across the street. One hundred of the school’s 150 students returned when the school reopened in April. The school completely waived the tuition fees and is committed to accepting any student who can benefit from its curriculum.
“My home was destroyed in the earthquake and I live in a tent in my old neighborhood, but Foyer d’Amour gives me motivation and hope,” says Rose, a teacher who instructs students in sewing. Students learn other occupational skills like cooking, and they can join a music band that plays for dignitaries and special events.
Baltimore, MD — International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) received strong support on Tuesday from the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, which presented IOCC with an $80,000 check for its aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti, and another gift of $40,000 for IOCC projects around the world. The presentation was made at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Clergy-Laity Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. "From wheelchairs distributed to the disabled of Zimbabwe and support to fight the dreaded disease of podoconiosis in Ethiopia, Philoptochos has been one of the strongest partners for IOCC," said IOCC Development Director Daniel G. Christopulos who accepted the gifts on behalf of IOCC. Philoptochos was one of the first Orthodox supporters of IOCC's relief work in Haiti, providing an emergency grant for an airlift of water purification equipment and tents (shown here) for families in the days just after the earthquake. The check presented on Tuesday brings Philoptochos's total aid for Haiti to $100,000.