IOCC Volunteer Update - April 2017

Your Ideas. Your Impact.
It's official now: IOCC's new do-it-yourself (DIY) fundraising platform is ready for YOU – you're the only thing missing! Decide on a fundraiser, get your friends and family involved, and BE THE DIFFERENCE for someone in need. Check out creative ways to help those facing hardship:

IOCC Is 25! #IOCC25
IOCC has been around long enough now that some of those we've helped years ago are now helping others! Natasa was just 12 years old when the civil war in the former Yugoslavia spilled over into her hometown of Mostar. In this video, see how your support makes a vital difference for families in need and how Natasa is now helping others overcome similar struggles.

Natasa's story is the first in a series of video profiles highlighting the ways that people like you have made a difference through IOCC over the past 25 years. Share Natasa's story, and watch for the next installment!

Did You Know...?
Ever wonder what happens to your kits before they are shipped overseas? They are held alongside medical supplies, buckets and other emergency-relief supplies, and more in this warehouse shared by many other faith-based humanitarian organizations. IOCC staff recently visited the warehouse to pick out some children's books that will go to children in the Republic of Georgia to help them learn English. Thank you to McGraw-Hill Companies for the generous donation, and to all of you for the hundreds of thousands of kits delivered over the years!

IOCC in the News
Voice of America (VoA) recently interviewed IOCC staffer Biljana Mihajlovic, Manager of Europe Programs and Gifts-in-Kind, about IOCC's ongoing Bread and Wine program in Kosovo and IOCC's 25th Anniversary Celebration.
IOCC gets a mention in coverage of the 95th anniversary of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Canton, Ohio – a church with close ties to the region that is home to so many IOCC programs.
IOCC and Apostoli's support for Greek agricultural co-operative Spartakos, a pasta maker, was highlighted on March 7 on ERT, Greece's national broadcast system. In Greek, NOW WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Miss any news on IOCC? Catch up here.

IOCC Wants YOU! Volunteers Needed for Home Builds

Get your hands dirty with us! IOCC Orthodox Home Build Teams assist with long-term recovery in disaster-affected areas. After a catastrophe passes and the media attention has faded, the communities still face great need. As a home build volunteer, you can help families rebuild their homes! Read more and apply here:

Fayetteville, NCJune 4–June 10, 2017
Rainelle, WVJune 11–June 17, 2017
Fayetteville, NCJune 19–June 24, 2017
Nassau, BahamasJuly 1–July 8, 2017
Baton Rouge, LAJuly 4–July 9, 2017
Nassau, BahamasDecember 30, 2017–January 6, 2018
Ellicott City, MDTBD
Charleston, WVTBD
Albert Lea, MNTBD

IOCC Awareness Events
Organizing an IOCC event in your parish or community? IOCC Outreach is here to help you plan and publicize. To get your local IOCC event on the calendar, contact us at

Pittsburgh, PA

On April 2, Orthodox faithful and members of the Greater Pittsburgh community gathered for a Syrian Relief Dinner and Prayer Service. Over 600 people met at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, where the evening began with Vespers led by hierarchs from across the Orthodox jurisdictions: His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America), His Eminence Metropolitan Savas (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America), His Eminence Archbishop Melchisedek (OCA), His Grace Bishop Thomas (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America), His Grace Bishop Irinej (Serbian Orthodox Church in North & South America), His Grace Bishop Daniel (Ukranian Orthodox Church of the USA), and His Grace Bishop Gregory (American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA). After the service, guests moved to the hall, where the Pan-Orthodox Choir of Pittsburgh and local violinist Bob Banerjee offered musical selections and volunteers served a Lenten meal. IOCC Executive Director and CEO Constantine Triantafilou offered remarks, and Metropolitan Joseph addressed the guests with an update about current events in Syria. Many thanks to the hierarchs for their unwavering support, as well as to Pittsburgh Metropolitan Committee Chair Nick Terezis, event chair Zelfa Khalil, and all the volunteers who worked so hard to make this evening possible.

Baltimore, MD

IOCC is 25, and on April 22 IOCC's hometown celebrated with A Big Fat Greek Wedding Reception. Nearly 200 guests from Maryland, DC, Virginia, and Pennsylvania descended on St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Baltimore for a fabulous evening of dinner, wedding cake, toasts, and dancing. Members of local Greek band Zephyros and DJ Steve Lemmerman performed, and our "bride and groom" for the evening led off the dancing. IOCC Executive Director and CEO Constantine Triantafilou gave the evening's keynote "toast," recognizing two special figures in IOCC's history: Robert Pianka, a former IOCC staffer who worked in the Balkans during the wars; and Peter Marudas, one of the very first volunteers to organize a fundraiser for IOCC. Thanks to event chair and IOCC staffer Katrina Noplos, Fr. Louis Noplos and the St. Demetrios parish council, the women of the St. Demetrios Philoptochos Society, and all those who gave extensively of their time and efforts to make this a fantastic party!

Cranston, RI

On the evening of Saturday April 22, New England celebrated IOCC's 25th anniversary with a Pan-Orthodox Vespers and Buffet for IOCC at the Church of the Annunciation. The evening began with Vespers, chanted in the traditional way. Some 50 people from various local Orthodox parishes, including St. Gregory the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church in Mansfield and Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Pawtucket, joined in for the benefit dinner. Table centerpieces were set off by the national flags of countries where IOCC has worked. IOCC Development Officer Lou Zagami showed IOCC's 25th anniversary video, which features IOCC supporters telling their stories of how they have served others through IOCC. An engaging Q&A session followed, in which guests had a chance to quiz Zagami on IOCC programs around the world. Thanks go to event chair Elaine Otto, Fr. Andrew George and the Annunciation community, and to all the volunteers who helped organize this special event!

Volunteers in Action
Let us know about your kit drives and IOCC presentations – email images and brief write-ups to so we can feature them here. And thank you!

Akron, OH

Youth at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio completed a kit drive in April for IOCC's partner program. The teens collected and assembled kits for IOCC. The parish supported the project with donations, and altogether the community assembled 50 kits. Thanks to Corinne Mahshie, the youth of St. George, and everyone who contributed to this effort!

Upcoming IOCC Events – Celebrate with us!
Interested in planning your own 25th Anniversary event? Help us plan ahead by scheduling now! We'd love to send a speaker to your parish. Please let us know what you're planning, so we can make travel arrangements well ahead of time. IOCC will also provide specially branded promotional materials for the 25th anniversary so that all parish members can join the festivities. Thank you for celebrating with us!
  • May 6: Sacramento, CA – Odyssey of Hope 25th Anniversary Gala
  • May 6–7: Pittsburgh, PA – TEAM IOCC at the Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend
  • May 11: Chicago, IL – 25th Anniversary Grand Banquet & Silent Auction
  • May 13: New York, NY – 25th Anniversary Celebration
  • May 19: New Rochelle, NY – Invocations of Spirit: A Concert to Benefit IOCC's Work in Greece
  • June 3: Potomac, MD – An IOCC Reception for Syrian Relief
  • June 9: Cleveland, OH – 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet
  • August 19: Denver, CO – Pan-Orthodox Walk/Run for IOCC
  • October 21: Baltimore, MD – TEAM IOCC at the Baltimore Running Festival
  • October 28: Charlotte, NC – 25th Anniversary IOCC Evening
  • October 29: Philadelphia, PA – 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet
  • November 5: Castro Valley, CA – 25th Anniversary Remembering Home IOCC Dinner
  • November 9: Minneapolis, MN – 25th Anniversary IOCC Dinner
  • November 11: Saint Louis, MO – 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet
  • November 12: Akron, OH – Thankfulness Dinner to Benefit IOCC

For information about these IOCC events and more, visit

IOCC Is Hiring
Bring your expertise to an organization making a difference around the world. Join our team in one of the following positions – some in our Baltimore headquarters and some abroad! Know someone who would be a perfect fit? Please pass this info along to them! For full job descriptions and application instructions, visit

Stay connected to IOCC through our online communities!

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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.