IOCC Volunteer Update - May 2017

IOCC Volunteer Update - May 2017

IOCC Wants YOU! Volunteers Needed for 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:

Rainelle, WV June 11–June 17, 2017
Fayetteville, NC June 19–June 24, 2017
Nassau, Bahamas July 1–July 8, 2017
Baton Rouge, LA July 4–July 9, 2017
Charleston, WV July 16, 2017–July 22, 2018
Nassau, Bahamas December 30, 2017–January 6, 2018

25 Years Thanks to You! #IOCC25

Together, we have achieved great things. Your compassion and generosity are critical as we continue to strengthen communities worldwide, build vital infrastructures like wells and schools, and respond to emergencies and natural disasters. Thank you for your support over the years. Join us in celebrating the impact of IOCC across the globe and in looking forward to our next 25 years of service!

Check out Stories from the Field—old and new—here.

Did You Know...?

18216532_10156183885289126_2952765399522150431_o.jpgIOCC is raising awareness on the importance and benefits of vaccines to protect children of all ages against disease. Events held for Syrian refugees and the Lebanese host community in Bekaa and North Lebanon took place around “World Immunization Week,” at the end of April. During this week, mothers received informative materials on vaccination and learned locations of primary healthcare centers that they can visit to get their children vaccinated for free. These awareness events were implemented with your support and the supervision of the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health. Check out photos here. 

IOCC in the News

Hellenic News of America, OCP Media Network, OCA, and National Herald shared IOCC’s 25th anniversary celebration announcement. 

Voice of America Serbia interviewed IOCC’s Biljana Mihajlovic on agricultural support programs in Kosovo, including Bread and Wine. The segment aired on Pascha.

IOCC’s Pascalis Papouras joined the Baltimore International NGO roundtable discussion with US Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) facilitated by ACT Alliance co-member Lutheran World Relief.

Miss any IOCC news? Catch up here.


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

Sacramento, CA


On Saturday May 6, more than 300 guests gathered at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Sacramento for the Odyssey of Hope 25th Anniversary Gala. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco offered the evening’s opening prayer. The program included remarks from presenting sponsors Chrysa and George Demos and later by IOCC board member and presenting sponsor John Sobchak, as well as from IOCC co-founder and honorary board member Charles Ajalat. Special guests Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic of Sacramento Kings fame participated in the festivities, adding to the celebratory atmosphere. IOCC Executive Director and CEO Constantine Triantafilou and Chairman of the Board Mark Stavropoulos also spoke briefly, after which His Eminence reminded guests of IOCC’s important example of Pan-Orthodoxy in the U.S. and role as “our hands and legs and arms and hearts” in serving the least of these as near as next door and as far as across the ocean. He called for continued unity and service to Christ by serving others into the next 25 years and beyond. The evening was rounded out with a live auction and a “Gift from the Heart” giving opportunity. View pictures here. Special thanks to His Eminence, Fr. James Retelas, all event sponsors (full list here), the entire team of volunteers handling logistics, and event co-chairs Carol Rotas and Maria Kaufman.

Pittsburgh, PA


May 6–7 was the Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend, and Team IOCC: Pittsburgh made its debut in this popular annual event, covering both the 5K and the marathon course. Local supporters Christopher Weber, Dean Stambolis, and Christopher Rune dedicated their respective races to helping those in need worldwide, creating personal pages to share IOCC’s work through our do-it-yourself fundraising platform, DIY for IOCCThank you for sharing your passion for serving others and for making those miles matter even more! 

Chicago, IL


At Café la Cave in Des Plaines, the IOCC Chicago Metropolitan Committee held its 25th Anniversary Grand Banquet & Silent Auction on May 11. Chicago is one of just three volunteer-led committees to be hosting their 25th annual event in 2017, IOCC’s 25th Anniversary year, and local parishes across jurisdictions were very well represented—Carpatho-Russian, OCA, Albanian, Antiochian, Serbian, and Greek Orthodox—while the John C. Kulis Foundation underwrote the evening. Nearly 300 guests turned out for the milestone, among them IOCC board members, past board members, staffers, long-time area supporters, and IOCC Frontliners. Also in attendance were His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos and His Eminence Metropolitan Nicolae; His Grace Bishop Peter also offered his support for the event. The program included remarks from Chicago committee chair Bill J. Vranas and a keynote presentation by IOCC Chairman of the Board Mark Stavropoulos. In addition, during dinner several board members shared brief personal vignettes about their involvement with IOCC. Guests had a chance to bid on high-value silent auction items, all generously donated by local supporters. Many thanks to the hierarchs and local clergy for their warm support, Chicago committee chair Bill J. Vranas, event chair Maria Loukaki, and the entire committee, as well as to all the volunteers who played a role in making this celebration possible.

New York, NY


The NYC 25th Anniversary Spring Benefit took place this year on May 13, once again in the great hall at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan. Just under 100 guests and volunteers gathered to celebrate IOCC’s 25th year with a special wine reception and an impressive array of heavy hors d’oeuvres donated by local restaurants and restaurateurs, as well as wine donated by volunteers and other supporters. Guests mingled to the sounds of jazz piano standards, and were then treated to a brief overview of IOCC from board member Charles Hinkaty, followed by a screening of the 25th Anniversary video and a Q&A session with Development Officer Lou Zagami. Multiple door prizes donated by local businesses and individuals rounded out the evening. Thanks are due to event chair Marina A. Belessis-Casoria, to Jeannie Kouros, and to everyone who contributed this lovely evening—especially Fr. John Vlahos and the Cathedral staff and community.

Ann Arbor, MI


On Mother’s Day, May 14, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church hosted its annual International Coffee Hour for IOCC. Parish representative and long-time event chair Perry Katsikas presented briefly on IOCC in church, immediately following Divine Liturgy. Afterward, about 150 congregants gathered in the church hall to enjoy homemade food from around the world, highlighting IOCC’s global reach. Among the delicacies were Middle Eastern and Romanian desserts, koupepia (aka dolmades) and other Cypriot foods, as well as tasty traditional treats from Poland, Mexico, France, Italy, China, and Greece. All the food was offered in a spirit of celebration for the cultural diversity of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, and a desire to support struggling people around the world. Thank you, Perry Katsikas, Fr. Nicolas Kotsis, and Fr. Vasili Pliakas—and the entire St. Nicholas community—for being part of IOCC’s work in this way!

New Rochelle, NY

NewRochelle2.jpgOn May 19, the community of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in New Rochelle hosted “Invocations of Spirit: A Concert to Benefit IOCC’s Work in Greece.” Some 100 guests gathered for a special evening of music featuring a performance by acclaimed pianist Eleni Traganas, with a special appearance by soprano Olga Xanthopoulou. The musical program comprised pieces by Chopin, Granados, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin. In addition, Ms. Xanthopoulou sang a setting of the beloved Holy Thursday Hymn of Kassiane composed by Ms. Traganas herself. IOCC Development Officer Lou Zagami spoke briefly during intermission, highlighting the organization’s global work, especially in Greece. A reception followed the musical program during which guests had a chance to speak one-on-one with Mr. Zagami. Many thanks to Fr. Nicholas Anctil and to event chair Georgeann Mavrovitis for their efforts, and to Ms. Traganas and Ms. Xanthopoulou for dedicating their talents to helping those in great need.

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!

Worcester, MA


In December 2016, the community of St. Spyridon Greek Cathedral celebrated IOCC’s Day of Sharing with a brief presentation to kick off a kit drive. During Lent 2017, the youth group then assembled 100 kits (60 hygiene and 40 school kits) for IOCC’s partner program. Thanks to Ana Coulouras and all the youth advisers who are sharing the important work of caring for others with the next generation!

Raleigh-Durham, NC

The Philoptochos Society of St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Durham assembled and shipped 100 health kits. Thank you, ladies, for your faithful service!

Richmond, VA


The Community Outreach Committee of Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Cathedral organized a kit drive this month, preparing 12 clean-up buckets. The community was well represented across generations, as the Church School’s grades four through six participated. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to serve those in need!

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. Check for updates at And thank you for celebrating with us!

  • June 3 — Potomac, MD — An IOCC Reception for Syrian Relief
  • June 9 — Cleveland, OH — 25th Anniversary Celebration
  • 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 Evening for IOCC
  • 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 12 — Saint Louis, MO — 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet
  • November 12 — Akron, OH — Thankfulness Dinner to Benefit IOCC

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

  • Country Representative for Syria

Stay connected to IOCC through our online communities!

Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube to keep up to date with IOCC news, view event photos, and get a firsthand look at how your support is touching lives around the world.