Now that Halloween is over, retailers are in full holiday mode. For many though, the word “holiday” has little to do with its root word, “holy.” And yet the days that make up this season are holy. The Advent fast will start the season soon as a preparation for the Nativity. The feast of Thanksgiving, although a secular holiday, is a holy time to thank God for all that He has bestowed on us. And Christmas gives us the chance to thank God for His greatest gift, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who came so that we might have new and everlasting life.
In the midst of these holy days our SCOBA hierarchs have designated the Sunday before Thanksgiving--November 18--as IOCC Sunday. Their blessing (the full text is available by clicking here) is a reminder of the importance of IOCC’s pan Orthodox mission to restore peoples’ lives and livelihoods. That is truly a holy work. But we can only participate in this holy work with your support. IOCC Sunday on November 18 gives us the chance, once again, to thank you for helping us give people throughout the world new hope, new opportunities and new life.
Below are just a few of the life-changing differences that you have made during the previous month of October. Also, check out our web site (www.iocc.org) for November events in your area where you can come and learn more about IOCC’s global programs. May God grant you a blessed and holy start to Advent and Thanksgiving!
Yours in Christ
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO
Recently, IOCC formed a partnership with the non profit organization, Wheels for Humanity, which assisted us in providing wheelchairs, ambulatory devices and other medical supplies worth nearly $200,000 to the National Council of Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe in the city of Bulawayo. Through a grant by the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, IOCC shipped the supplies to Zimbabwe and Wheels for Humanity provided the volunteer medical personnel to individually fit the wheelchairs. As the fifth shipment of medical supplies to Zimbabwe since 2006, this latest project demonstrates IOCC’s expansion into new countries in Africa as well as the growing importance of our Gifts-In-Kind program.
IOCC Jordan received a container of nearly 13,000 textbooks valued at over $860,000. The textbooks, which were donated by McGraw-Hill Companies through Brother’s Brother Foundation, will be used by Jordanian students aged 12-18 years who attend public and private schools throughout the country. In another project, IOCC Jordan donated food parcels to disadvantaged families in the city of Madaba, located just south of Amman. The food parcels were provided in response to a campaign by the Jordanian Ministry of Development and Social Affairs.
IOCC’s Metropolitan Committees staged seven major fundraising events between September and October. Events in support of IOCC’s programs were held in Pittsburgh, Spokane, New York City, Baltimore, Phoenix, West Palm Beach, and Orange County, California. Featured speakers included Fire Captain Vasillios Pamboukis, who traveled to Greece as part of IOCC’s Emergency Response Network for last summer’s wildfires, and Father Stephen Plumlee, who spoke at a dinner in West Palm Beach on his participation with IOCC’s Study Tour to the Holy Land. IOCC’s Metropolitan Committee events have steadily grown over the past fifteen years. For more information on upcoming events please visit www.iocc.org/events.
“We were mostly impressed that it was all the Orthodox working together for a cause that we should be working together on. That was very inspiring. It was an opportunity for lay people to become more involved in the life of the Church and to obey Christ. We love the fact that IOCC helps everyone and anyone that needs the help, and that it is diligent to make sure that the smallest amount possible goes towards administrative costs. IOCC is one of the inter-Orthodox enterprises that is working.”
Jerome and Daria Petrykowski, Strongsville, Ohio (IOCC Supporter Since 1992)