IOCC Joins Largest US Disaster Response Network
Baltimore, MD (December 3, 2014) — From comforting survivors of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, to helping Midwest families clean out their homes after last summer’s devastating floods, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) has been responding to the needs of disaster victims across the US for more than a decade through the IOCC Emergency Response Network, or Frontline, as well as the support of local Orthodox Christian parishes in outreach to disaster-affected communities. IOCC’s track record of readiness in times of disasters and emergencies has earned it a position as the newest member of the nation’s largest network of disaster response volunteer agencies.
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership-based organization that serves as a forum for organizations to share knowledge and resources in aid of disaster survivors and their communities. Founded in 1970, The National VOAD coalition is made up of more than 100 member organizations throughout the country, including many of the leading faith-based disaster response agencies. This diverse group of emergency service organizations provides a wide range of skills in service to American communities before and after manmade or natural disasters.
IOCC’s Orthodox Frontline has worked extensively with VOAD members on many occasions during large-scale events, providing pastoral counseling, cleanup assistance, and distribution of relief items to people affected by emergencies. In addition to becoming the latest organizational member of National VOAD, IOCC currently belongs to state and regional VOADs in Arizona, Colorado, Northern California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Virginia. IOCC staff also hold leadership positions in the network, with IOCC Assistant to the Executive Office, Pascalis Papouras, serving as President of Maryland VOAD and a member of the National VOAD Board, and IOCC’s US Country Representative, Daniel Christopulos, serving as Secretary of the Minnesota VOAD.
“We are very excited to become a member of the national VOAD and take our place alongside colleagues active in disaster response and recovery in our country,” stated Christopulos. “Through coordinated efforts with our partners we can assure more effective assistance to those whose lives have been torn apart by natural and man-made disasters within our own borders.”
IOCC’s participation in this coalition is part of a broader effort by IOCC to develop the Orthodox Christian Action Network (Orthodox CAN!), a US-based initiative to nurture and activate Orthodox volunteerism across all age groups. The IOCC Orthodox Christian Emergency Response Network (ERN), developed with the support of the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Endowment, Inc., is one facet of the Orthodox Christian Action Network that is made up of more than 100 clergy and lay members trained to respond in times of disaster.
IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered $488 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in more than 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 140 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy, and a member of InterAction, the largest alliance of U.S.–based secular and faith-based organizations working to improve the lives of the world’s most poor and vulnerable populations.