IOCC Volunteer Update - November 2016

IOCC Volunteer Update – November 2016
This November, we are thankful for YOU! It is only with the help of our generous, tireless volunteers that we can fulfill our mission here at IOCC. You support our day-to-day operations, you plan events, you spread awareness, and you fulfill Christ's commandment to help the least of our brethren. We appreciate each and every one of you!

#GivingTuesday: November 29, 2016
Join the movement – Set aside your Black Friday and Cyber Monday savings for people in need, here. Every single gift makes a difference – thank you! Share what you're doing for this international day of giving on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and tag @IOCCRelief!

From 1992 to 2017: IOCC Celebrates a Quarter Century!
Next year IOCC will mark 25 years of service – made possible by your generosity. Help us plan ahead by scheduling your 2017 events now! We'd love to send a speaker to your parish, so please let us know what you're planning so we can make travel arrangements well ahead of time. IOCC will provide specially branded promotional materials for the 25th anniversary, so look for those in the coming months – and thank you!

IOCC in the News
Global Dialogue – Women on Air interviews IOCC Lebanon staff Ruba Khoury and Joyce Barakat about IOCC's award-winning Community Kitchen program (intro and some commentary in German; English interview starts at 2:10) Listen here.
Miss a press release? Catch up here.

Did You Know...?
IOCC delivers shipping containers of essential medical supplies to hospitals around the world – part of our gift-in-kind (GIK) program. As many as 50,000 vulnerable patients are being helped through a delivery of medical supplies to hospitals in Thessaly and Central Greece on November 4. Public hospitals in Greece have been overwhelmed with people seeking medical assistance who have no income, social security, or other means to pay for life-saving services. IOCC, with support from AHEPA, recently delivered a container filled with syringes, needles, catheters, surgery towels, gowns, and other essential items.

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

Philadelphia, PA

The Greater Philadelphia IOCC Committee organized its 5th Annual Banquet for IOCC on Friday, October 28, at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in Valley Forge. Nearly 300 supporters turned out for an evening of fine food, as well as a silent auction, and even a sneak peek at the church's sanctuary. Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and a Mediterranean-themed dinner, accompanied by live guitar and singing. IOCC's director of programs Mark Ohanian presented images of IOCC's global work, as well as an overview of the sectors where the organization works, giving supporters a glimpse of the crucial difference your support makes. Thank you to committee chair Tony Pantazopoulos, committee members Connie and Harry Bandy, auction chair Jane Kelly, Kathy Pantazopoulos, Barbara Dionisos, and ALL the volunteers who contributed to a beautiful evening!

Read local coverage of this event here

Dallas, TX
Nearly 100 supporters from the greater Dallas area gathered for an Evening to Benefit IOCC on Saturday, October 29 at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. Fr. Chris Constantinides welcomed guests to the annual event and Mike Petrides served as the emcee for the evening. IOCC Gift Officer Nick Kasemeotes was the keynote speaker and presented a recent video on IOCC's response in Greece. Later, two local groups performed traditional Ukrainian and Greek folk dances for guests, who represented six Orthodox parishes from the Dallas–Fort Worth area. Thank you to IOCC event chair Mike Petrides and all the volunteers who made this happen!

Seattle, WA

On Thursday, November 3, more than 80 people from the Seattle metropolitan area turned out for an annual Reception to Benefit IOCC. After Fr. Daniel Triant welcomed attendees, everyone enjoyed a selection of hand-picked local wines and heavy hors d'oeuvres. IOCC Gift Officer Nick Kasemeotes showed IOCC's most recent video about your impact in Greece, followed by a short presentation covering his recent travels in that country, as well as to IOCC projects in Lebanon and Jordan. Emcee Theodore Angelis ended the evening with thanks and an appeal for a special offering. Special thanks to chair Kim Angelis for all of her hard work!

Palos Heights, IL

On a chilly but sunny South Chicago Saturday morning, area IOCC supporters and the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church community joined in their Annual Walk for IOCC. On November 5, about 35 dedicated walkers – individuals and families – enjoyed a morning of fresh air and scenic landscape around Lake Katherine, carrying on a fine tradition: this was the St. Spyridon walk's eighth year! Thank you to Zoe and Frank Kopanis for their work organizing and leading this special local event, and to all who participated!

Randolph, NJ

Parishioners and friends of St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church turned out in force on Saturday, November 5, for a spaghetti dinner and meatball-making contest to benefit IOCC. Determined to see who would be the "meatball master," six local chefs set out to win over guests' palates with their secret meatball recipes. Attendees and a panel of judges all sampled each sauce and meatball, and after judging, special trophies were awarded for People's Choice and Judges' Choice of tastiest meatball. Congratulations to the "meatball master" Angelo Vingaro, who also won last year's competition "whose sauce is boss"! IOCC Development Officer Lou Zagami presented an overview of how and where IOCC works. Special thanks to Fr. John Theodosion, Ellen Manetas, George Moshen, Jutta Ferrer, Bessie Petrakis, and Cathy Barrett for all their hard work organizing this fun evening – and to the competitors and volunteers who made it possible!

Read local coverage of this event here

Indianapolis, IN

A Fall BBQ for IOCC took place on Sunday, November 6 this year, hosted by Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Carmel. Host priest Fr. Bill Bartz welcomed over 80 people, and Nick Kasemeotes presented briefly on IOCC's global response. Guests at this family-friendly evening enjoyed a tailgate-themed buffet, including barbeque favorites like pulled pork, sliders, and a mac-and-cheese bar. This local event has been growing for the past three years and will be hosted next year by St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers. Thank you to Fr. Bill Bartz, Julie Rowlas, and Nick Saran for organizing this wonderful night!

San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Sunday, November 6 saw over 150 guests turn out for the Bay Area's 24th Annual Remembering Home Dinner hosted by the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross in Belmont. The evening began with Great Vespers, followed by a welcome reception that featured a Christmas Ornament Boutique. After dinner, emcee Gary Brenner introduced The After Eight Singers, who sang a variety of standards and show tunes. Following their performance, Fr. Peter Salmas welcomed attendees, and US Country Representative Dan Christopulos gave the keynote presentation. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco gave the closing remarks – inspiring words about compassion, the importance of Pan-Orthodox cooperation, and IOCC's life-saving work. Thank you to Kristen Azar, Sonya Rowen, Steve Kreta, and the countless volunteers who made this evening possible!

Akron, OH

Reviving a tradition, the parish of St. Thomas Orthodox Church in Fairlawn hosted a Thankfulness Dinner to Benefit IOCC on Sunday, November 13. Some 50 parishioners gathered to enjoy traditional Thanksgiving fare, as well as homemade desserts, and Popadija Kimberlee Wright gave a brief presentation on IOCC's work, highlighting the organization's role as the hands of America's Orthodox community reaching around the world in Christ's love. Many thanks to parish rep Deaconessa Robin Waltenberger, chef d'excellence Annie Fry, and Popadija Kim for all your hard work to make this special afternoon a success!

Rochester, MN

On Wednesday, November 9, Gus Chafoulias hosted a reception and IOCC presentation at his home, where guests gathered for a lovely evening of hors d'oeuvres and fellowship. IOCC Gift Officer Nick Kasemeotes presented a short slideshow of pictures from his recent visits to Lebanon, Jordan, and Greece, highlighting IOCC's work assisting those in need there. Thanks go to Gus for graciously opening his home and hosting this special evening!

Minneapolis, MN

On Thursday, November 10, the Annual Twin Cities Benefit for IOCC took place at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis. Emcee Johnny Neumann welcomed guests and offered opening remarks. IOCC US Country Representative Dan Christopulos offered an update on IOCC's recent response to floods in Minnesota and the Carolinas, deploying IOCC's emergency-response van to support post-flood muck outs and clean-up efforts. IOCC Gift Officer Nick Kasemeotes gave the keynote presentation and offered slides from recent trips to Lebanon, Jordan, and Greece. Thank you to the Neumann Family, Kyrsten and Justin Theodotou, and to ALL the volunteers who made this evening happen!

Austin, TX
Austin's St. Elias Orthodox Church once again hosted an awareness event in their parish – this year, it was a musical evening dubbed "A Blues Night under the Stars" – to benefit IOCC. On October 28, the Texas LAW blues band performed, and guests enjoyed not only their unique sound but also good food and good company on the church's grounds. Here's to the start of a fine Texas tradition! Thanks to Imad Zaccak and David Walker Sanchez for organizing this evening, the musicians, the St. Elias community, and to all the volunteers who made this evening possible!

Pittsburgh, PA
At the hip city venue Olive or Twist on Thursday, October 27, Orthodox singles came together for a fun evening of conversation and learning about IOCC's global work – as well as the activities of the Pittsburgh IOCC Metropolitan Committee. More than 30 folks of all ages enjoyed a social evening and a brief presentation on IOCC's work by Pittsburgh chair Nick Terezis. Thanks to all who came and all those who made this evening possible!

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!

IOCC Sunday
Thank you to all who organized presentations and set up displays in your parishes for IOCC Sunday! Thank you for taking advantage of this specially dedicated day to share why you love IOCC and support our global work.

Emergency-Kit Assembly
The Greek Orthodox Church of Our Saviour in Rye, New York, organized an emergency-kit assembly in November, and volunteer Laurence Maalouf drove them down and delivered them to the Church World Service warehouse in New Windsor, MD. She and her mother (and their dog, Gigi!) made the trek down I-95 and dropped off over 700 kits from the Rye community. Thank you all for this wonderful contribution to our partner program!

Upcoming IOCC Events
  • January 28, 2017: Milwaukee, WI – Tailgate Celebration for IOCC's 25th
  • January 28, 2017: Pittsburgh, PA – International Soup Sampling for IOCC
  • February 11, 2017: Houston, TX – 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet
  • February 12, 2017: Orange County, CA – IOCC Share the Love Event
  • February 25, 2017: Denver, CO – Annual IOCC Pan-Orthodox Evening
  • April 2, 2017: Pittsburgh, PA – Syrian Relief Dinner & Prayer Service
  • April 22, 2017: Cranston, RI – 25th Anniversary IOCC Event
  • May 6, 2017: Sacramento, CA – 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet
  • May 6-7, 2017: Pittsburgh, PA – TEAM IOCC at the Pittsburgh Marathon Weekend
  • May 11, 2017: Chicago, IL – 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet
  • June 9, 2017: Cleveland, OH – 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet

For information about these IOCC events and more, visit

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.

Linked In

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.