|Members of New Jersey chapters of AHEPA, Philoptochos and GOYA gathered at St. George Greek Orthodox Church to assemble emergency clean-up buckets (left) and then distribute them (right) at Silverton Volunteer Fire Station for survivors of Superstorm Sandy. Cleaning supplies and other disaster relief items are still urgently needed by hundreds of families trying to make their damaged homes livable again. photo: Rada Tierney/IOCC
Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — Two weeks after Superstorm Sandy slammed into the East Coast and obliterated entire neighborhoods along New York’s and New Jersey’s shorelines, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) remains on the ground supporting cleanup and recovery efforts of Orthodox parishes in the affected areas.
Working in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, Greek Orthodox Metropolis of New Jersey, AHEPA, and Philoptochos, IOCC delivered emergency clean-up buckets to Holy Trinity/St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and St. Paul Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the hard hit coastal communities of Staten Island and Long Island, and to St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Toms River, New Jersey. The buckets filled with cleaning supplies, heavy duty gloves and trash bags will go to nearly 300 families trying to salvage homes damaged by the storm surge and intense winds.
The parish hall at St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church has also served as a distribution point for clean-up buckets, blankets, clothes and meals for Sandy survivors living in the coastal communities surrounding Toms River, New Jersey. “On behalf of our parish, as well as the citizens who have been directly affected by Hurricane Sandy, we thank the IOCC for their presence in our community and on the entire Jersey Shore,” said Father Paul Pappas. “The homes that were visited by the IOCC Emergency Response Network Frontliners proved to be very comforting to our parishioners who were directly affected. The IOCC responded to our community and were prepared to offer spiritual assistance as well as provide the necessary supplies for the clean-up of personal property. The support offered by IOCC to the local volunteer firefighters of our community was greatly appreciated by the entire volunteer force.”
The need for assistance is still great. “We are ready to receive whatever we can get,” said Father Luke Melackrinos of St. Paul Greek Orthodox Cathedral. “We’ve had 18 families in our parish sustain damage to their homes,” added Father Nick Petropoulakos of Holy Trinity/St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, “and many are still without power more than two weeks after the storm.”
Staten Island received the brunt of the storm’s wrath, leaving many homeless and without the barest of necessities. The parish hall is serving as the community’s central distribution center for food, water, and clothing. The greatest needs, according to all three parish priests, are cleaning supplies and baby items. Instructions for preparing Emergency Kits may be found at: www.iocc.org/giftsofheart.aspx
IOCC has distributed emergency relief items to survivors of Superstorm Sandy in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, including shipments of more than 1,300 cases of donated bottled water, along with 6,300 quilts and 4,600 personal hygiene kits provided in cooperation with Lutheran World Relief, 100 storage bins and more than 400 emergency clean-up buckets.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can help the victims of disasters in the United States, like Hurricane Sandy, by making a financial gift to the United States Emergency Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit www.iocc.org, call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, Md. 21297-0429.
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered more than $400 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy. To learn more about IOCC, please visit our website at www.iocc.org.
Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations, 443-823-3489, [email protected]