Their faces are imprinted on our minds and their courageous stories embolden us in our mission as humanitarians: Andreas lost his pasturelands and hundreds of olive trees to last summer’s wildfires in Greece; Tsegie in Ethiopia lost two babies to AIDS and lives with the disease herself; Hamzah, Ali and their sister Loulou, escaped the dangers of Iraq but now face refugee life in Syria. In 2007, IOCC had answers for them and for thousands like them: forage seed for Andreas so he could replant his grasslands and keep his livestock alive; start up capital for Tsegie so she and her husband can support themselves by running a small convenience shop; schooling, uniforms and supplies for Hamzah, Ali and Loulou so that they can resume their education for a brighter future.
IOCC’s pledge to them and to you, our supporters, is to go only to those places where our resources and expertise meet real needs. Our global network of contacts with the Orthodox Church, governmental and local partners allows us to reach people efficiently, and to help them find their own solutions.
May their faces and stories remind us all that this is possible because of our partnership. We are most grateful to you for trusting us with this ministry of mercy. On behalf of my colleagues at IOCC, I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with possibilities.
Yours in Christ
Constantine M. Triantafilou
Executive Director and CEO
Hear real stories about IOCC’s programs around the world through a new podcast feature on iocc.org. In the latest installment, hear from farmers in Greece who are rebuilding their lives after last summer’s wildfires. Also featured is an interview the IOCC Executive Director and CEO, Constantine M. Triantafilou. Look for more IOCC podcasts from around the globe.
ANCIENT FAITH RADIO: An interview with IOCC's CEO Constantine M. Triantafilou
ANCIENT FAITH RADIO: Hear IOCC staff report from Greece
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK: Restoring Greece's grasslands
IOCC resumed its operations in Baghdad by distributing food and hygiene kits to 2,000 families in Baghdad. The families include needy internally-displaced people, invalids, extended families, single-headed households, and the elderly. Each food and hygiene parcel is designed to supplement the basic nutrition needs of approximately three people during a one-month period. Families who have more than three members will receive additional parcels. IOCC purchased all the supplies from local markets in order to support the local economy. IOCC had suspended operations due to Iraq’s security situation.
IOCC recently delivered 175 wheelchairs to Java, Indonesia through its partnership with Wheels for Humanity. Many children were carried in on their mother’s back and left with a custom-fitted wheelchair. Volunteer medical personnel from the United States worked 10 hour days to train in-country therapists on seating, positioning & wheelchair mechanics.
IOCC Metropolitan Committees held fundraising events during the month of November in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Charlotte, NC, Spokane, WA, and Akron, OH. All proceeds benefitted IOCC’s global programs. The Chicago event raised funds for IOCC’s wildfire relief and recovery program in Greece. All events were well attended and very successful.
“The fact that IOCC was pan Orthodox impressed me. We should be one church in America. I hope that I see that in my lifetime and this [IOCC] is one way towards that. From their financial reports I can see that most of my money goes out to the field and very little to administrative costs. That definitely appeals to me. And they respond very quickly to all kinds of disasters. I’m glad that they distribute to everyone and don’t just focus on a few countries.”
Rev. Deacon Edward J. Reta, Brecksville, Ohio (IOCC Supporter Since 1992)