IOCC Volunteer Update - May 2016

Wanted: Your Creativity!

Want to do more but not sure where to start? IOCC Outreach is seeking trailblazing volunteers for our new ONLINE FUNDRAISING platform! Set up your personalized fundraising page, and get creative!

Maybe you're an athlete: walk, run, swim, or cycle, and get friends and family to sponsor you. Maybe you'd rather not have birthday gifts you'll never use: ask folks to donate to IOCC in your honor instead. Or maybe you're the competitive type: divide your youth, young adult, or other church group into teams, and compete online to see who can raise the most support! Or use the platform to organize a dodgeball tourney, dance-a-thon, or any kind of "a-thon" you'd like. Your efforts support IOCC's mission to respond quickly and effectively during disasters and to continue life-saving programming in forgotten corners of the world – serving some of the world's most vulnerable people. Thank you! To learn more or to get started, call an Outreach Coordinator today at 410-243-9820, or email

IOCC in the News and on the Web
Church Charity to Feed 1000 Poor Families for 10 Months
Detroit's Door Radio interview with Lebanon Director Ruba Khoury on IOCC's refugee-relief efforts in the Middle East (Program 52, May 22, 2016)
OCN interview with Nenad Prelevic, IOCC Regional Representative for the Western Balkans, on IOCC's sustainable-farming projects in the region
Miss a press release? Catch up here.

Did You Know...?

IOCC's podoconiosis (or "podo" for short) program in Ethiopia is quite comprehensive. Fifteen health clinics serve those with this debilitating – but preventable and reversible – condition through medical treatment and patient education in self-care, as well as training for local healthcare professionals so that more people can be served. Causes and prevention are taught in schools, and shoes are provided to schoolchildren to help keep them healthy. Local community members have been trained in shoemaking and create leather shoes specially designed to fit the feet of podo patients, helping them along the road to recovery. Read more.

Race to Respond: Run (or Bike, or Swim) for a Cause!

"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Tim 4:7

You can help those in need by dedicating your upcoming race to IOCC! This past fall, dozens of enthusiastic IOCC volunteers from across the country and IOCC HQ staffers ran and walked in races ranging from a 5K to a full marathon at both the Baltimore Running Festival and the Akron Rubber Race Series. They committed their time, training, and perseverance to IOCC's mission – and you can too!
Join our Race to Respond team, and IOCC will help you set up a personal fundraising page to share with family and friends, as well as provide IOCC promotional materials to help you spread awareness. Rather race with friends? Contact an IOCC Outreach Coordinator for more information on how to get a group Race to Respond event started in your hometown. Choose your favorite local race, and get the word out to start building your team now! Team Akron, start at

Contact us to get started (, or visit our website ( for more information. Go Team IOCC!

IOCC Awareness Events

Warmest thanks to all the volunteers and committees who organize events all year round. Your efforts reach around the world with Christ's love. Join us, and support IOCC in your hometown – and thank you!

Chicago, IL

On Thursday, May 12, the Chicago IOCC Metropolitan Committee hosted its Annual IOCC Grand Banquet and Silent Auction. With over 220 guests, 3 hierarchs, and 30 IOCC Frontliners in attendance, the event was very well received. Master of ceremonies Fr. Malek Rihani oversaw the evening's program, which concluded with keynote speaker Dean Triantafilou, IOCC's Executive Director, introduced by Director of Development Billy Brown. Frontliners Fr. Andrew Lentz, Fr. Thomas Moore, and Mike Claypool shared brief snapshots of their experiences responding in the wake of natural disasters. Thanks to the Chicago Metropolitan Committee, especially committee chair William J. Vranas and banquet chair Maria Loukaki!

Learn more about IOCC's Frontline, an emergency response network ready to help across the US whenever the need arises.

New York, NY

The "City That Never Sleeps" was wide awake on Tuesday, May 24, when the NYC Spring Benefit for IOCC took place at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan. Some 100 guests and a crew of dedicated volunteers came together for a lovely reception, the high point of which was a special presentation by IOCC Development Officer Lou Zagami, who discussed how, why, and where IOCC works. A lively question-and-answer session followed, and the evening concluded as it had begun with the tzoura music of Mike Risko Savvas and good conversation. Special thanks to all the generous sponsors who supported this event and to Fr. John Vlahos and Christine Zeiner at the Cathedral, as well as to event chair Marina Belessis Casoria and volunteers William Jannace, Evangelos Tsevdos, Hellen Vouthounis, and EVERYONE who lent a willing hand!

Cleveland, OH

Thursday May 26 marked Cleveland's 24th Annual IOCC Banquet. This year the Greater Cleveland committee, which has been active almost as long as IOCC itself, organized a beautiful pan-Orthodox evening of music, conversation, and philanthropy at Agostino's Catering and Event Center. The Sarena Orchestra, a local Orthodox ladies' string quarter, played music during the reception and through dinner, and afterward IOCC Development Officer Lou Zagami presented on several of the organization's current life-saving relief and development programs. The Diane Zamiska Award this year was presented to Dragan Kovacevic of St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church in Parma. Special thanks to Connie Zimmerman and the entire Metropolitan Committee for the heart, soul, and love that they put into making this evening a success!

Volunteers in Action

Newburyport, MA

Don Argyrople and Stacy Kevorkian at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church led the charge in the parish's annual Holy Friday luminary fundraiser, dedicating this year's proceeds to supporting IOCC's work in Greece. On Great and Holy Friday, the beautiful luminaries lined the path followed by the epitaphios of Christ and the procession of the faithful during the evening's services. Thank you for dedicating such a beautiful, solemn night to assisting others!

Tulsa, OK

IOCC supporters at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma assembled 100 hygiene kits during Great Lent. What a great way for the community to come together in order to help others! Thank you for taking this opportunity to provide practical, tangible help to those in need!

Birmingham, AL

Parish reps Ailene Keeton and Alexandra Constantine redecorated the IOCC bulletin board at St. Symeon Orthodox Church, highlighting humanitarian success stories and ways to get involved. Thanks for getting the word out in such an eye-catching display!

Cincinnati, OH

Anna Catherine Sansalone, age 11, determined that the Personal Perseverance Project, a school assignment, was the perfect opportunity for her to help people in need. Troubled by the Greek economic crisis, Anna Catherine chose to raise money for IOCC's "Give for Greece" program, organizing a series of awareness and fundraising activities. After setting up an information table at church and passing a collection tray there, she also held a bake sale at school. The initiative culminated in "A Greek-Inspired Tea" at the Malton Art Gallery. While Anna Katherine's original goal was to raise $1,000, she has already raised more than $7,000! Check out her video documenting the efforts on YouTube here.

Upcoming IOCC Events

  • Friday, June 3, 2016: Washington, DC – IOCC Awareness Happy Hour
  • Saturday, June 4, 2016: Virginia Beach, VA – Race to Respond 5K Walk/Run
  • Sunday, June 12, 2016: Pittsburgh, PA – Presentation on IOCC in Ethiopia
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2016: Pittsburgh, PA – Craft Beer Tasting to Benefit IOCC
  • Sunday, June 26, 2016: Newburyport, MA – IOCC at the Young Adult Retreat
  • Saturday, August 20, 2016: Denver, CO – Pan-Orthodox 5K Run/Walk for IOCC
  • Saturday, October 1, 2016: Cleveland, OH – A Fashion Show & Tea Party for IOCC
  • Saturday October 15, 2016: Baltimore, MD – Race to Respond at the Baltimore Running Festival
  • Thursday, October 20, 2016: Salt Lake City, UT – Wine Tasting to Benefit IOCC
  • Friday, October 21, 2016: Charlotte, NC – Annual Banquet for IOCC
  • Sunday, October 23, 2016: St. Louis, MO – Annual Banquet for IOCC
  • Friday, October 28, 2016: Philadelphia, PA – Annual Banquet for IOCC
  • Sunday, November 13, 2016: Bay Area, CA – 24th Annual Remembering Home Dinner

For information about these IOCC events and more, visit

Look for IOCC staff at the following Clergy-Laity and Parish Life Conferences this summer – we'd love to talk with you!

  • June (TBA): Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Worcester – Lou Zagami
  • June 15–18: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Miami – Lou Zagami
  • June 22–26: Antiochian Orthodox Diocese of Toledo – Nick Kasemeotes
  • June 29–July 3: Antiochian Orthodox Dioceses of Los Angeles and Eagle River – Nick Kasemeotes
  • June 29–July 3: Antiochian Orthodox Dioceses of Charleston & New York – Lou Zagami
  • July 3–8: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Clergy-Laity Congress – Lou Zagami, Christina Meares

Orthodox Action Teams 2016: Building Homes – Restoring Hope – Repairing Lives!

Put your faith into action! Sign up to join an Orthodox Action Team, and spend a week siding, roofing, and framing homes, painting, landscaping, and more. Jump into hands-on action in places across the United States that have been affected by natural disasters. You don't need to be skilled – just energetic!

Space is limited, so register early. Visit for more info and to register today!

June 6–11New Orleans, LA: Fr. Michael Rosco Memorial Build kickoff (only 5 slots available)
June 12–18Columbia, SC
June 20–25Oklahoma City, OK
July 10–16Columbia, SC
July 18–23New Orleans, LA: Fr. Michael Rosco Memorial Build
Aug. 15–20New Orleans, LA: Fr. Michael Rosco Memorial Build

We are also planning one or two builds in the Bahamas for spring or summer, so check the webpage often!

IOCC Baby Kits: Important Update

Please note that our partner in the emergency-kit program is no longer processing baby kits.

For this reason, we're asking you, our generous volunteers, to focus on hygiene kits, school kits, and clean-up buckets. (

Thank you for providing this practical, tangible help to those in need!

Stay connected to IOCC through our online communities!

Join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and stay up to date on news, IOCC event photos and a firsthand look at how your support is sharing good around the world.

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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.