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.
A thriving ministry of the Philoptochos chapters of the Boston Metropolis
They were called to serve and protect their country but on their return, with battle scars both visible and invisible, our veterans meander down a lonely path, forgotten and lost. The human spirit can endure only so much alone but if we recall Ephesians 2:22, we know well that the human spirit will find it’s way back to the source for “you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. “
What is Operation Housewarming?
Operation Housewarming began as a way to re-build together the dwellings of our homeless veteran population at the Bedford and Brockton (Massachusetts) locations but most importantly to build together and “to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.”
The project provides housewarming baskets to veterans transitioning to independent living on a regular basis. The initiative began when His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios and several members of the Metropolis Philoptochos Board visited the Bedford, MA facility and delivered care packages for each of the residents preparing for transition, the Christmas of 2012.
Metropolis of Boston and Philoptochos Respond
Today the ministry has taken on a life of its own with an overwhelming support from all the Philoptochos chapters and parish communities in New England. “The entire Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston is undertaking this mission to assist our homeless veterans,” said Georgia Pappas. “All of our chapters have taken on this program under the guidance and counseling of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios of Boston.”
Marianne Phelan, who coordinated the program adds “We are proud to join Operation Housewarming. This is a continuation of our outreach that is and always has been our group’s mission. It is important for everyone to provide help for those veterans who are transitioning into independent living.”
In his acceptance speech, Albin J. Joiner, a peer support specialist for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who works out of the VA Medical Center’s campus in Providence addressed the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society at the Rev. Peter G. Mihailides Center in Cranston. He spoke of his own ordeal and how he served in combat with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1971-72 in Phnom Penh, and upon his discharge he had found himself homeless. Today his mission is to prevent other men and women from going through a similar situation.
“What you people have done here today is incredible,” Joiner said “All these items are on the wish list of homeless veterans and they’re all of high priority. I can’t tell you how important they will be for our men and women who have served our country.”
A Memorable Donation
Joiner had come with Dr. William Carr from the VA to the Church of the Annunciation to receive 25 rubberized barrels that were overflowing with items like brooms, dust pans, and laundry detergent. The donation was facilitated by 25 different members who donated $100 for each barrel and its contents and did so in many cases in memory of loved ones who also served in various branches of the armed forces.
The Rev. Andrew George, the Annunciation Church’s pastor, blessed the Ladies Philoptochos organization for leading the way in supporting this important cause.
With considerable demands that cannot be fulfilled by the VA system alone, the Metropolis of Boston is working on extending the housewarming operation throughout New England in support of homeless veterans.
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.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PHILOPTOCHOS SOCIETY
The National Philoptochos Society mission is to do charitable, benevolent and philanthropic outreach to preserve the sanctity of life and family and to perpetuate and promote our Orthodox faith and traditions.”. The organization is led by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Chairman, His Grace Bishop Sevastianos of Zela, Spiritual Advisor, Maria Logus, President, Arlene Siavelis Kehl, First Vice President, Evangeline Mekras Scurtis, Second Vice President, Jeannie Ranglas, Third Vice President, Christine Karavites, Secretary, Martha Stefanidakis, Treasurer, Georgia Vlitas, Assistant Treasurer and Aphrodite Skeadas, Advisor. The organization’s Director is Helen Lavorata.
The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc. is the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America that has offered eighty years of philanthropy through a multitude of programs that make a difference in the lives of people in the United States and throughout the world. The Society was established in November 1931, by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, who was then serving as Archbishop of North and South America.
Philoptochos fulfills its mission to “help the poor, the destitute, the hungry, the aged, the sick, the unemployed, the orphaned, the imprisoned, the widowed, those with disabilities and the victims of disasters through its National and Metropolis Boards and its 26,000 members and more than 400 active chapters, nationwide.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America called Philoptochos, “an army of nobility and the jewel of our Church.”
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.
Click on the following link to make a donation online directly to the Philoptochos.
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