In the Land of Plenty, Many are in Need of Your Help
Since opening our doors, IOCC not only had the vision to help people overseas – the poor, refugees or those struck by natural disaster – but to also lend a helping hand to people in need in the United States.
The IOCC Emergency Response Network
IOCC is committed to volunteerism in the face of need. Since 2005, when a number of volunteer Action Teams were created to help with rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina in the New Orleans area, more than 1,000 people like you have answered the call and given over 30,000 hours of hard work. More than 193 family homes damaged by natural disasters across the US have benefited from the service of IOCC volunteers.
In addition to Louisiana, IOCC action teams have done rebuilding work in Oklahoma, Colorado, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Minnesota. In 2014, IOCC volunteer teams expanded their efforts to include immediate post-disaster cleanup response.
It’s a fun and rewarding way to put your faith into action in the service of families recovering from disasters. In 2015, one of the Action Teams included several seminarians. If you would like to volunteer for next summer, please apply. You don’t need to be skilled – just energetic! Activities vary depending on location and construction schedules, but can include siding, roofing, framing, landscaping, painting and other related activities.
It was the tragedy resulting from the terrorist attacks on September 11th that inspired us to create our US Emergency Response Network – the “IOCC Orthodox Frontline”.
It’s made up of lay volunteers from across the nation along with Orthodox clergy. Members include trained and seasoned chaplains, counselors, therapists, emergency response managers, social workers, medical doctors, registered nurses, emergency medical technicians and people from other related professions. Although not first responders, Frontliners arrive on the scene in the early days following:
- Natural disasters including tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes
- Acts of terrorism including 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and others.
The Emergency Response Network and its “Orthodox Frontliners” stand ready to help across the US whenever the need arises.
The IOCC Orthodox Homefront is comprised of Orthodox parishes that have registered with IOCC to make the parish available for response activities in times of disaster. Homefront parishes might act as commodity distribution centers, shelters, feeding points, volunteer housing sites, as well as other activities.
Other Ways IOCC Helps in the USA
United States Emergency Response Fund
You can help people affected by disasters in the United States by making a financial gift to the United States Emergency Response Fund. This fund is used to give immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those suffering after a disaster.
Literacy and Education
Since 2007, thanks to your support, IOCC has provided more than 900,000 new elementary and secondary textbooks worth $40 million to after school, tutoring and Head Start programs for children in under-served areas in more than 20 states.
You help make it possible for IOCC to donate textbooks across the US for children who are poor, homeless or for those whose parents are migrant workers or are in prison. Read more about how you’re helping educate children in the United States through your support of IOCC.
Your Dollars In Action
Barbara, age 70, spent more than 40 years creating a comfortable home in the coastal town of Brick, New Jersey, for her family. It took only a few minutes in October 2012 for surging waters from Hurricane Sandy to flood her modest bungalow and obliterate a lifetime of hard work and treasured belongings.
IOCC, in partnership with Orthodox Christian churches and Habitat for Humanity, sent volunteers to the East Coast to assist Sandy survivors like Barbara in rebuilding their storm-damaged homes. "I’m so thankful for the help of good people like IOCC," said Barbara. IOCC is thankful for donors like you!
In May 2013, tornadoes devastated Oklahoma, including the town of Moore. They reached EF4 and EF5 on the Fujita tornado damage scale (EF5 is the highest/worst with winds 261-318 mph). One tornado measured more than two miles wide! At least 24 people were killed, half of them children.
IOCC Frontliners were sent to the storm site within two days of the event. Working in cooperation with Orthodox Christian clergy and the University of Oklahoma, 300 displaced people received emergency clean-up buckets, personal hygiene kits and blankets.
IOCC Frontliners, together with Fr. Justin McFeeters of Ascension Antiochian Orthodox Church, also provided emotional and spiritual care for the hundreds of adults and children temporarily housed on the Univ. of Oklahoma campus.
In June 2013, 19 firefighters gave their lives battling wildfires which burned over 8,400 acres around Yarnell, Arizona. IOCC Frontliners were on the ground offering spiritual and emotional care to the families of the stricken, emergency personnel, and residents of the community of Prescott, Arizona where the hotshot fire team was located. IOCC team members also participated in memorial services offering support to grieving townspeople.
Fr. Apostolos Hill, pastor at the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Prescott, explains: "We have a number of St. George parishioners whose lives have been impacted by this tragedy and are thankful for the support of IOCC. It is a small town that is reeling from this tragedy!"
Either the forces of nature … or the tragic violence of mankind will cause more damage and heartache sometime in our future. Please consider becoming part of the “Orthodox Frontline” to help and serve others in Christ's Holy name. Apply today so we’re prepared for what tomorrow may bring.
- Six-year-old Alexa from Chicago dearly loves to read, but has very few books of her own.
Her Mom struggles to pay rent and buy food. Buying books and school supplies is out of reach.
Thanks to donors like you, Alexa benefited from a donation of more than 25,000 new text and reading books sent to schools for underprivileged children. She was so excited to have more books to read!