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.
Looking into the Eyes of Christ
Philoptochos Women from New Rochelle, NY Feed the Hungry
As part of the Feeding the Hungry program of National Philoptochos the women of New Rochelle attempted to take away the sting of homelessness even for a day each month. If only you dear reader could have for a brief moment glimpsed the happiness on the faces of their guests as they were served a meal of pasta with meat sauce, mixed vegetables, rolls, granola bars, oranges, coffee and steaming hot chocolate with mounds of whipped cream. For Cynthia Herzegovitch, the experience on that bitterly cold day serving those surviving on the streets was unforgettable.
Serving more than 100 people that day, the generosity of the community was commendable. The guests received fleece blankets, socks, coats and jackets, hats, scarves and toiletry kits. A woman walking by the group stopped and offered five knitted hats that she made specially for the homeless. What is incredible about this ministry is the way in which love and care expands and grows as the Philoptochos ladies worked together serving and witnessing Christ in the eyes of each one of the homeless who came to them that night.
Cynthia recalls meeting Billy, an Iraqi war veteran who has been homeless for nearly two years after the traumatic loss of his wife and young children in a car accident. He has not been able to return to his New Jersey home since and has been struggling emotionally. Despite his own destitution, he takes care of a 19-year-old young man, also homeless. Billy is torn about sending him home to his father in Boston who he feels cannot take better care of Billy than he can on the streets of New York.
“We met a quiet woman who graciously accepted our food and then offered it to others saying it was a blessing from God. The blankets and quilts we distributed were received very well. One man took a blanket for a wheelchair-bound friend in Penn Station and told us his friend would look very sharp with our nice blanket. A woman took a quilt and said it was large enough to share with another person.” writes Despina Kartson of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, New Rochelle, NY, on facebook.
The ladies were struck by the gratitude and thoughtfulness of people whose own circumstances were unfortunate and that they had enough place in their hearts to think of those around them and save food and blankets for them.
The wonderful women acknowledged that day for their contributions were Manny Louros for cooking the meal, Alexandra Baoudouin for sponsoring the soup run, Minos Samolodas and Denise Bendo for their donations which enabled them to purchase additional socks and blankets, Rose Tan Kaung – a woman Helen Alexander met in White Plains donated 24 sweatshirts, toiletries, caps and gloves, Constance Mavrovitis brought coats given to her by others and the many, many kind hearted members of Holy Trinity who support this homeless outreach mission. Thier example of philanthropy will warm you through and through!
LEARN ABOUT PHILOPTOCHOS
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America with 26,000 members nationwide. Philoptochos responds immediately to needs and crises and its philanthropic outreach extends to each area of the country and throughout the world. In 2014, National Philoptochos distributed $1.737 million in philanthropic aid.
The Philoptochos’s major philanthropic initiatives are worth learning more about including: Feeding the Hungry: 250,000 Meals, Saint Nicholas National Shrine at Ground Zero, and National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund.
To learn more about the National Philoptochos Society, visit http://www.philoptochos.org. For more information regarding this material and the National Philoptochos Society, please contact Rania Richardson, Communications Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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