IOCC Volunteer Update – December 2010
December Bulletin Announcements
Give the Gift of Love
Are you looking for a unique holiday gift that will not only be appreciated by your friends and loved ones but change a life?! By making a special Christmas gift to a loved one through the IOCC "Gift of Love" Catalog you can help alleviate suffering and provide opportunities for young people to learn, help impoverished rural communities to cultivate sustainable sources of food, and provide healing medicines to those in need.

Apply for an IOCC internship!
Are you interested in gaining firsthand experience working with an international humanitarian aid organization or know someone who is? If so, consider applying for an IOCC internship for the summer of 2011. IOCC anticipates offering one internship opportunity in each of the following field offices: Jerusalem/West Bank, Beirut, Lebanon, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. For more information about the internship program and how to submit an application, please visit the IOCC Internship Page.

Country Highlight:

At the end of this month, we will celebrate Christ's birth in the Holy Land. While Christ is the Prince of Peace, there are many still struggling from violence in the area. The war and conflict in the Gaza Strip has caused extensive damage to the lives and livelihoods of over 1.5 million Palestinians. More than two years of strict blockade has left Gaza's economy crippled with more than 80% of its inhabitants dependent on assistance. IOCC has been providing such assistance since early 2009, and was recently awarded its fourth grant from the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) in the amount of $750,000 to provide short-term emergency relief assistance for the vulnerable population in poor and remote areas of the Gaza Strip during the winter. The project is planned to begin in early December 2010 and will last four months, ending during the month of April. Three-thousand (approximately 21,000 individuals) families residing in three vulnerable areas in Gaza will receive assistance through this program. Assistance will include items such as food, hygiene supplies, blankets, cleaning supplies, warm clothing and school materials.
Getting Youth Involved!
On October 31st, twenty five children from Saints Constantine and Helen of Swansea, IL each took home a small pumpkin chosen from the church lawn. The children adorned them with colorful plumes, glittering attachments, smiling faces, and, in some cases, unidentified goop, globs, and glitter to be displayed and auctioned off at the parish's Thanksgiving Dinner celebration. In the past, the youth have participated in similar projects, with funds benefiting the parish's youth fund. This year, however, they decided to send the funds to IOCC to help other children in need around the globe.

The evening of the event, one parishioner facilitated the auction of the beautiful and wild orange globes that the children worked so hard on. The first pumpkin sold for $10.00, chatter in the crowd began to fade, and people took interest in the decorated gourds. A pumpkin resembling Sponge Bob Square Pants, and one covered in colorful plumes with a not-so-graceful beak dubbed "The Kiwi-bird Pumpkin", began enticing the parents in the crowd. Friendly competition ensued, with one pumpkin selling for $50.00 and another for $100.00!

In just fifteen minutes, the youth and open-hearted parishioners of Saints Constantine and Helen had raised $530.00 for the ministries of IOCC. Thank you to the youth and parishioners of Saints Constantine and Helen!

Are you looking for ways that your parish's youth can raise awareness and funds for IOCC such as the pumpkin auction? Please contact Megan Carniewski, IOCC Outreach Coordinator, at or toll free at 877-803-4622 for further information.

This story was sent in by Fr. Achilles Karathanos, the parish priest at Saints Constantine and Helen in Swansea, IL and Spiritual Father of the Saint Louis Metropolitan Committee.

Please forward details on these events to friends you have in these areas!
  • January 23, 2011 – Long Island, NY – Taste of Orthodoxy
  • February 26, 2011 – Denver, CO – 3rd Annual IOCC Dinner
To learn about other upcoming events, visit for further details.

Daily Prayer for IOCC Volunteers
O Heavenly King, Comforter, who grants all blessings, we thank You for Your abundant grace and mercies. Help us to be good stewards of Your treasury through the ministry of IOCC.
Help us to strip ourselves of our earthly adornment, so that the poor may be sufficiently clothed and fed. And, by so loving our neighbor, adorn us with the everlasting pearls of virtue instead.
Where there is suffering, help us to bring Your mercy. Where there is despair, Your hope;
Where there is war, allow us to present You who are the Prince of Peace;
Where there is pain, You who are the Comforter; Where there is hatred, You who are Love;
Where there is death and destruction; You who are the Resurrection and Life.
Daily guide our work in IOCC, so that we may do all things, in every place and at all times, for Your glory. Amen.

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