IOCC Volunteer Update - November 2017

IOCC Volunteer Update: Nov.'17

Thankful for ... You


IOCC’s continued work depends on people like you working to share your passion for serving others around the world. Because of you, children have schoolbooks, communities have to access clean water, families have safe homes, schools and homes have been rebuilt, and entrepreneurs are growing their businesses. Thank you for being part of this work: your dedication and involvement make all the difference.

Share Your IOCC Sunday Stories

Did your parish celebrate IOCC Sunday on November 19? Share your stories, pictures of your display or coffee hour reception, and tell us how you marked this annual Day of Sharing. Email with your stories and photos.

Urgent: Volunteers Needed in December!


IOCC is looking for volunteers to help with hurricane clean up and recovery as well as home builds before the end of the year. Two opportunities are currently available:

  • Florida: Out-of-area volunteers are needed to continue cleaning up in Florida after Hurricane Irma’s destruction. Those interested should complete this form.
  • Bahamas: The hurricanes are fading from the news, but we’re looking ahead to rebuilding homes and lives. Just one more home build in 2017, and we want you! Join us in Nassau, Bahamas, December 30, 2017–January 6, 2018. Read more and apply here.

IOCC Awareness Events

To get your local IOCC event on the calendar, contact

Palos Heights, IL


Despite a cold and rainy day in Chicago, parishioners at St. Spyridon once again hosted a successful walk for IOCC on November 4. Area IOCC supporters and the St. Spyridon Greek Orthodox Church community joined in their Annual Walk for IOCC, now in its ninth year, while enjoying a morning walk around scenic Lake Katherine. Some 35 dedicated walkers—individuals and families—braved the autumn chill for a morning of fresh air and scenic landscape around Lake Katherine, carrying on a fine tradition. Thank you to Zoe and Frank Kopanis for their work organizing and leading this special local event, and to all who participated!

San Francisco Bay Area, CA



Sunday, November 5 saw over 170 guests turn out for the 25th Annual Remembering Home Dinner hosted by Resurrection Greek Orthodox Church in Castro Valley, CA. The evening began with Great Vespers, followed by a welcome reception and silent auction that featured beautiful handmade local goods. After dinner, emcee George Psefteas introduced the Resurrection Dancers “Nea Arxi and Enotita,” followed by remarks by Steve Kreta, chair of the IOCC Metropolitan Committee of Northern California. Following dinner, IOCC Executive Director Constantine Triantafilou presented the Good Samaritan Award to Fr. Thomas Paris for his outstanding service supporting IOCC’s work and his role in establishing the IOCC San Francisco Metropolitan Committee in 1992. IOCC Chairman of the Board, Mark Stavropoulos also spoke about IOCC‘s important role and shared personal stories from his visits to IOCC’s programs around the world. His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco also offered remarks—inspiring words about compassion, the important of Pan-Orthodoxy and IOCC’s work. Thank you to Fr. Niko Bekris, Matthew Jameson, Karen Reis and the countless volunteers who made this evening possible!

Rochester, MN

On Wednesday, November 8, 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 Frontliner, Fr. Michael Ellis offered remarks about his recent deployments to Texas and Florida, and IOCC Gift Officer Nick Kasemeotes gave a short update about IOCC’s recent work. Thanks go to Gus for graciously opening his home and hosting this special evening!

Minneapolis, MN


On Thursday, November 9, the Twin Cities 25th Anniversary IOCC Dinner took place at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis. Emcee Johnny Neumann welcomed more than 120 guests to the annual dinner and offered brief remarks about IOCC’s work. Participants enjoyed jazz music from the Ted Godbout Trio as well as a fun addition to the evening, a “dessert dash” where tables got to bid and choose from a beautiful spread of desserts. IOCC US Country Representative Dan Christopulos offered an update on IOCC’s U.S. programs, and IOCC Frontliner Fr. Michael Ellis shared his personal experiences about being deployed as an emotional and spiritual care counselor in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Thank you to Angelea Hoeft, Joanne Neumann, and to ALL the volunteers who donated beautiful desserts and made this evening possible!

Kansas City, KS


On Friday, November 10, more than 130 people came together for An Evening to Benefit IOCC at the Santa Fe Banquet Hall in Olathe, Kansas. Emcee Dr. John Sayegh introduced IOCC Gift Officer Nicholas Kasemeotes, who gave a quick update about IOCC’s recent humanitarian work and presented IOCC’s 25th Anniversary video. Participants also enjoyed Middle Eastern dance performances as well as entertainment by a local Elvis impersonator. Thank you to Fr. Elias Issa, Ida Sayegh, and all the volunteers who made this evening possible!

Los Angeles, CA


St. Steven Serbian Orthodox Cathedral hosted A Legacy of Hope: 25th Anniversary IOCC Banquet on Saturday, November 11, 2017. The evening began with Vespers, followed by a reception that featured beautiful silent auction items, including hand painted icons, exclusive golf packages, and signed Sasha Alexander items. There was also a greater Los Angeles Youth Tribute to IOCC, where young people from several Orthodox Churches had drawn posters and special messages for IOCC’s 25th Anniversary. Host Fr. Nicholas Ceko offered greetings and introductions, and His Grace Bishop Maxim offered the opening prayer for guests. IOCC co-founder and honorary board member Charles Ajalat served as emcee and introduced several performances from the Pan-Orthodox Young Adult Choir of Greater Los Angeles, the Pan-Orthodox Byzantine Choir of Southern California, and the Pyrkagia Dancers from St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church. Along with the IOCC 25th Anniversary video, there was a special video message from IOCC supporter, Vlade Divac, who offered his congratulations on the event and his regrets that he wasn’t able to join the evening. His Eminence Metropolitan Nikitas offered the beautiful keynote speech and benediction, inspiring all those in attendance. Thank you to Fr. Nicholas Ceko, Lisa Xanthos, and the entire LA Metropolitan Committee for all of their hard work!

St. Louis, MO


The St. Louis Metropolitan Committee held its IOCC 25th Anniversary celebration on November 12, also the committee’s 15th such event, held this year at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church. Nearly 150 guests representing the area’s diverse pan-Orthodox community gathered to celebrate, and IOCC’s Director of Development and Communications, Katrina Straker, gave the keynote address. Special thanks to all the committee members, particularly chair Mary Angelides, Christine and Harry Lemakis, Diane Siekmann, Teddy Hart, and everyone who made this special evening happen. Thank you to the Saint Louis committee for their dedicated service each year and for faithfully sharing IOCC in their communities!

Fairlawn, OH

St. Thomas Eastern Orthodox Church once again hosted a Thankfulness Dinner to Benefit IOCC on November 12, featuring traditional Thanksgiving fare the weekend before the Nativity fast began. Parishioners enjoyed a buffet meal and homemade holiday desserts, as well as door prizes of homemade afghans, made by Popadia Kimberlee Wright. Guests had a chance to learn a bit about IOCC while enjoying the company of their parish family. Thanks to Fr. Vlado Bakurdzhiev, Popadia Kim, and Deaconessa Robin Waltenberger for hosting and organizing this event,reviving an Akron-area tradition!

Grand Rapids, MI


On Sunday, November 17th, St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church hosted a Sounds of the Season concert featuring songs of the faithful from Thanksgiving and Christmas. This beautiful gathering inside the church brought together more than 250 people of all ages. Choirs from St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church, and Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church all participated, including a combined children’s choir from all three parishes. After the performances, IOCC Nicholas Kasemeotes offered a short presentation about IOCC’s work and guests enjoyed a lovely reception in the church hall. Thank you to Dn. David Khorey, all of the choir performers, and the volunteers who helped plan this evening for IOCC!

Houston, TX


St. George Orthodox Christian Church recently hosted a Young Professionals Gala for Hurricane Relief on Saturday, November 18th. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, young adults from the community came together to plan a beautiful sea-themed evening to help those that had been affected by the recent floods in the area. More than 100 participants enjoyed delicious seafood selections and music to dance the night away. Many thanks to George Katrib and all the young adults came together to help those in need!

Lexington, KY

On November 19, parishioners at St. Athanasios Orthodox Church celebrated IOCC Sunday with a special program during the parish's weekly common meal. After Liturgy, some 130 people gathered to learn about IOCC's humanitarian projects, marking this year's Day of Sharing with a screening of IOCC videos and a brief presentation. Many thanks to Fr. Justin Patterson and volunteer Audrey Wagner for planning and organizing this 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!

Dayton, OH


Many thanks to St. Paul’s Orthodox Church in Dayton, OH who came together to donate 54 clean-up buckets in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. People of all ages including high school and Sunday School students all came together to help with the assembly. Volunteer Maria Brausch took the lead with organizing funds and purchasing the supplies, and also worked with a sister parish, Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, to assemble another 27 buckets.

Annapolis, MD


Thank you to the GOYA of Ss. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in Annapolis, MD, who came together on November 6th to assemble 75 health kits for those in need.

Upcoming IOCC Events - Celebrate with us!

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

  • December 10 — Worchester, MA — IOCC Presentation and Reception
  • February 1 — Cleveland, OH — A European Wine Tasting to Benefit IOCC
  • February 3 — Milwaukee, WI — Tailgate Celebration
  • February 3 — Pittsburgh, PA — International Soup Sampling & Kit Assembly
  • February 25 — Raleigh-Durham, NC — Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers and Reception for IOCC
  • March 4 — Pittsburgh, PA — Syrian Relief Dinner & Prayer Service

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

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