Anberin Pasha, OCN's Digital Disciple Producer and Program Coordinator is a Graduate student in the Master's of Divinity Program at Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts.
25,000 meals to reach their goal
It is February 5, 2016, in Houston, TX, the National Board of the Philoptochos Society is on a mission to feed underprivileged children in Houston. Maria Logus, the President of the National Philoptochos Society had challenged her army of Philoptochos women members across the country with feeding 250,000 meals by the July convention in 2016. With a few more months to go, the Philoptochos chapters having fed 225,000 meals so far, the women are unstoppable.
The ladies gather from across the United States, assume their stations at long tables, their hairnets in place, their plastic gloves come on and they are off with their usual camaraderie, deeply conscious that they are serving their loving Lord Jesus Christ, and aware that in the image of each person they feed is the image of the Lord himself.
The Philoptochos initiative has in many ways demonstrated what can be achieved when the faithful come together to serve. Logus and her army of dynamic Philoptochos women remind me of another great woman, Mother Maria, who was canonized a saint by the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate on 16 January 2004. In response to the appalling conditions in which the Russian émigré lived in Paris after fleeing Russia in the early 1920’s, herself a refugee together with her family, Mother Maria transformed her life through creative contemplation, active love, the most heartrending personal compassion, and the ability to reinvent life. It is a question of giving human beings not only bread, but also beauty, opportunity, and celebration. In keeping with its rich Orthodox Christian tradition of loving one’s neighbor, the tradition continues today in the loving, embrace of the National Philoptochos Society.
Working together with His Grace Bishop Sevastianos, local Philoptochos members, GOYANS, Fr. Michael Lambakis, Fr. Christopher Xanthos and Deacon Gabriel Gadah of the Annunciation Cathedral, nearly 50 National Board members from across the country came together to package to meals in an act of solidarity with their local chapter members, packaging the 12,096 meals in a little over an hour.
Martha Stefanidakis, a member of the Annunciation Cathedral and treasurer of the National Board of Philoptochos, participated in the fabulous Feeding Children Everywhere program a few weeks ago in Houston has this to say,
“We contacted Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE), raised the funds necessary and gathered Houston Annunciation parishioners and our clergy, students from our Annunciation Orthodox School, Metropolis of Denver Board members, His Grace Bishop Sevastianos and the National Board for a lively hour packaging a meal of lentils, rice, dried vegetables and Himalayan sea salt for 12,096 children. The cost of these meals is only 25 cents per meal! The meals were distributed by two social service agencies in the Houston area. This project can be done anywhere in the country and the rewards are great. It was a profound teaching experience, especially for our young volunteers who were amazed that such a small amount of food was dinner for a family of six. Philoptochos has sponsored a feeding in New York City at the Holy Trinity Cathedral and is planning a huge Feeding Children Everywhere project in conjunction with the Nashville Clergy Laity Congress and National Philoptochos Convention this July.”
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