IOCC will provide 6,000 families in Gaza with food, blankets, and hygiene supplies through a new $750,000 grant from ARD through funding by the US government. (photo credit: East Jerusalem YMCA)
January 2009
From the Executive Director
As 2008 came to an end, a new war came to Gaza, one that would eventually displace more than 26,000 people. IOCC’s Jerusalem-based staff responded quickly, coordinating efforts with local organizations to deliver food to 23,000 children and adults residing in shelters and affected communities throughout Gaza, and providing hospitals with quilts and hygiene kits. “The situation in Gaza remains very critical,” says Dirk Lackovic’-van Gorp, IOCC Representative for Jerusalem/West Bank. “Significant numbers of people need food and the population is very traumatized and in need of psychological counseling.”

IOCC will expand its assistance to Gaza with a new $750,000 grant from ARD Inc. through funding by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). About 6,000 families (42,000 people) will receive food, blankets and hygiene supplies. IOCC is targeting the neediest, including those who have been displaced or are living in war-damaged homes, have experienced the death or injury of a family member, or who have a primary bread winner that is unemployed as a result of the conflict.

We are also meeting this crisis by working through our established networks of cooperation with the Orthodox Church. His Beatitude Theophilus III, Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, has blessed IOCC efforts and authorized it to work with His Grace Bishop Alexios of Gaza to assist vulnerable Orthodox families in Gaza City with emergency home repairs. That response is part of a larger program funded by Action by Churches Together (ACT) that will rebuild community centers while at the same time providing work for unemployed construction workers.

Finally, IOCC recently completed a strategic planning process involving our staff and Board Members. As part of that process, we updated IOCC’s Mission Statement. We feel this new statement more clearly conveys the scope and purpose of IOCC’s unique role in the humanitarian field.

IOCC, in the spirit of Christ’s love, offers emergency relief and development programs to those in need worldwide, without discrimination, and strengthens the capacity of the Orthodox Church to so respond.

I want to express my special thanks to our donors who supported us in 2008. Thank you for keeping faith with thousands during a tough economic year. In 2009, we move forward with confidence to meet the challenges ahead.

In Christ,

Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO

(photo credit: IOCC Baltimore)
“Volunteer in the Gulf”
For the third year in a row, IOCC will be sending teams of Orthodox volunteers to the Gulf Coast to build new homes for communities that are still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Last year, over 200 IOCC volunteers representing 55 Orthodox parishes from throughout the U.S. put in over 8,000 volunteer hours. Their sweat equity, valued at $160,000, helped complete 50 new homes in Louisiana.

Help Build Homes on the Gulf Coast: Join the growing network of IOCC volunteers to help families rebuild their lives by building new homes. You do not need to be a skilled carpenter – just energetic! We are recruiting volunteers for one week or longer of service in the Gulf Coast. Activities vary depending on location and construction schedules, but can include siding, roofing, framing, landscaping and support.

For more information and to check out the application, go to: www.iocc.org/gulfcoast.

(photo credit: C. Spagnolli)
Zimbabwe – IOCC Delivers Cholera Kits
IOCC’s shipment of cholera medical kits arrived safely in Zimbabwe and is expected to treat 5,600 patients. Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic, caused by a complete breakdown of proper water and sanitation systems, has claimed more than 3,300 lives. With salaries rendered useless by the country’s hyperinflation, many doctors and nurses have stopped going to work in Harare’s two leading hospitals. While the bulk of IOCC’s medical kits are serving the outlying areas where the need is greatest, IOCC has also supplied an Orthodox clinic in Harare that can treat victims in the capital. IOCC’s shipment is made possible through a partnership with the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Medical Teams International (MTI), Dorcas Aid International and IMRES. Since 2006, IOCC has provided more than $8.5 million in medicines and medical supplies to Zimbabwe’s hospitals and clinics and is working in cooperation with the Orthodox Church in Zimbabwe.

Souper Bowl of Caring
When Athena Stavropoulos, 13, of Troy, Michigan, sat down to work out her 20 hours of community service required of honor students, she decided to support IOCC’s Souper Bowl of Caring initiative. She contacted her priest at Sts. Constantine & Helen in Westland and started a drive to get Sunday School students and their parents to bring $1 contributions and canned food items. The drive was a great success and along with the canned items that went to a Detroit food bank, Athena raised $750 for IOCC’s humanitarian programs. In 2008, over 14,000 groups raised over $10 million for soup kitchens, food banks and other charities. For more information on how to get your church involved in the Souper Bowl of Caring, go to www.souperbowl.org.
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