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.
Corinthians 1 begins with the bestowing of diverse gifts as St. Paul draws on the beauty in the of individual members. He then builds to a dramatic unity in verse 13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” So it is with the diverse Philoptochos chapters across the United States each with its own unique approach and emphasis, working as one body in Christ.
The Diverse Service Projects of Philoptochos of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Kansas City, Missouri
The Philoptochos of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Kansas City, Missouri covers a lot of ground, from encouraging reading habits among preschoolers, mailing care packages to college students to preparing meals for the homeless. The senior center received two air conditioning units to help keep the senior citizens cool over the summer.
The events are simple: a coming together of members, a potluck fellowship dinner, a few donated used hardcover picture books, a hands-on project of tying fleece blankets is all it takes to create awareness while promoting reading among preschoolers. And yet its impact cannot be underestimated.
Linda Vleisides, the treasurer as well as the membership chairperson for the parish Philoptochos, is constantly looking out for new projects and reaching out to parishioners to see they know of a service project.
Book and Blanket Project
It is their openness to new ideas and to supporting local charities with limited resources, that the ladies chose the Book and Blanket Project. It was suggested by a member who serves on the board of the school district. The 43 book and blanket sets donated to the Parents as Teachers Program in Kansas City Center Schools are distributed among families who have recently joined to school district, to help welcome them. The offering of books and blanks as gifts to encourage reading in preschool age children makes an important statement.
There is a good chance of preschoolers raised in families where reading is encouraged through active participation of
parents, becoming readers. Some tips for encouraging reading among preschoolers is getting cozy under a fleece tied blank in bed with your children and reading aloud to them. Building their vocabulary by talking about interesting words and objects, hamming it and having fun with the story, you will be glad one day when your time will be rewarded.
Helping at-risk youth through Ozanam
Another worthy charity that this Philoptochos chapter contributes to is Ozanam . Ozanam helps at-risk youth with emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church has had a long-term relationship with the organization. In answer to their query on how they can be assisted, Philoptochos members learned of their program where they rewarded the kids with small denomination gift cards to Walmart, Target, McDonald’s etc. “In conjunction with Godparents’ Sunday, we ask our parishioners to donate these gift cards to donate to Ozanam to help support this rewards program. We typically collect around $200 in gift cards and donations,” says Linda Vleisides
Caring for college students and homebound parishioners
Taking time from their families the ladies got together in December last year, mailing 35 care packages to college students and at the Cookie Exchange, they assembled gifts bags with baked items, gifts and cards to take to 121 homebound parishioners.
Feeding the hungry
And this is not all! The Philoptochos women from the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church alternate with other Orthodox parishes in the Kansas City, MO area to provide hot meals every Friday for a community in the inner city. Those who come to eat are served, in a restaurant-like setting.
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 $1.475 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 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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