Brown Bag Lunch with International Orthodox Christian Charities
The Voluntary Agency Liaison Group sponsored a brown-bag lunch event outlining the services and programs of International Orthodox Christian Charities Oct. 4.
IOCC is the humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. This well-established charity has been active to provide emergency relief and development programs to those in need for more than 20 years throughout 50 countries. They are developing new programs domestically to enhance the level of support to local governments, FEMA, faith-based, voluntary organizations, and the business community that will improve services to disaster survivors.
IOCC has a history of providing emergency aid following natural and manmade disasters. In 1992, they airlifted supplies to refugees following the fall of the Soviet Union. They also assisted former Yugoslavia with agricultural, micro-loan, and refugee resettlement projects and provided aid to 24 villages in the West Bank using a grant received from the Ministry of Greek Foreign Affairs and USAID funding.
The organization employs 100 people worldwide throughout 9 field offices. The domestic programs they have implemented are mostly in urban areas where the largest concentrations of Orthodox Christian Churches are established.
One of the strengths of IOCC is their ability to collaborate with existing service providers in the community and national partners that arrive into an area following a disaster.
They are developing two programs to provide emergency response domestically. The first program “Frontline” uses trained chaplains to address the spiritual and emotional needs of event survivors and first responders. The second program, “Home front,” encourages local churches to collaborate with Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, FEMA, local non-profits, and faith-based and community organizations to support efforts already in existence. IOCC has responded to several US disasters such as 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina & Ike, the 2011 Southeast storms and the Virginia Tech shootings.
Presenters at the luncheon included Dan Christopulos, U.S. Country Representative, Fr. Angelo Pappas, Frontline coordinator, and Pascalis Papouras, International Orthodox Christian Charities-U.S. Office, Special Assistant to the Executive Office.
For more information, please visit the website: http://www.iocc.org/