IOCC Responds to Joplin and Heartland Tornadoes with Emergency Cleanup and Early Recovery
Baltimore, MD (May 27, 2011) — From Joplin, Missouri to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, International Orthodox Christian Charities, IOCC, is working to deliver relief items such as clean up buckets and blankets to victims of one of the deadliest tornado seasons to strike the US heartland in half a century.
Joplin, Missouri was the hardest hit, with at least 125 people killed and hundreds more still unaccounted for after the deadliest single twister ever recorded leveled a six mile swath of the town last Sunday night. IOCC and partner agency, Church World Service, are working closely with local churches from the affected area to identify and meet immediate needs such as food and shelter, and services like laundry and property clean up.
The IOCC response team is also working closely with local relief agencies to ensure distribution of much needed cleaning supplies, blankets, essential baby items, school kits and almost 34,000 basic hygiene kits to tornado survivors in the Alabama communities of Birmingham, Butler, Hoover and Tuscaloosa, as well as impacted areas in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina and Tennessee. Almost $500,000 in donated recovery materials have been shipped by IOCC partners to the region for distribution.
The relief efforts in the Midwest are being supported by the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society which provided a $20,000 emergency grant. Much of the relief items, such as the cleanup buckets, continue to be assembled in an ongoing effort by IOCC volunteers, including many Philoptochos Chapters across the United States. “We try to partner with IOCC whenever we can and appreciate their efforts to respond immediately,” states Aphrodite Skeadas, National President of the society. “It empowers us to be able to assist through IOCC, and we encourage all other Orthodox Christians to support the relief effort. Our continuous prayers go out to the victims and their families.”
IOCC is a humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians established in 1992 by the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas (SCOBA). It works in cooperation with the Orthodox Church and on behalf of Orthodox Christians. IOCC applies the highest professional standards in carrying out its mission, and renders itself fully accountable to its donors and the public.