Orthodox Christian Community Rallies to Support IOCC Flood Relief Efforts for West Virginia Families

Source: The Hellenic News of America

July 8, 2016

As torrential rain pummeled parts of West Virginia and
threatened a new round of flooding, International Orthodox
Christian Charities (IOCC) remains on the ground providing
emotional and spiritual care and deploying IOCC volunteer
clean-up crews to the hard hit towns of Clendenin and
Rainelle.

His Grace Bishop Thomas of the Antiochian Orthodox
Christian Diocese of Charleston, Oakland and the
Mid-Atlantic visited the affected area to offer
encouragement to parishioners impacted by the floods and
called upon the Orthodox faithful to extend a helping hand
to their neighbors in need by supporting IOCC’s
flood relief efforts. “From the very beginning of
Our Lord’s ministry, the Church has existed both as
a community and within a community,” stated Bishop
Thomas. “In these roles, there are a variety of
activities that the parish Church undertakes, both in
terms of liturgical services and in charitable work and
outreach. If there is liturgy without outreach, then we
fail, since “faith without works is dead,” but
if we have outreach without liturgy, we also fail, since
“man is not justified by works of the law but by
faith in Jesus Christ.”

In addition, a generous gift of $25,000 from the Greek
Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, presented to IOCC at
the Philoptochos National Conference yesterday in
Nashville, will provide further support for flood relief
to affected families. IOCC Frontliners, a team of trained
emergency responders, will continue assisting FEMA and the
local Red Cross by providing crisis counseling to
survivors at the FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers and relief
distribution centers. IOCC volunteers, in collaboration
with Mennonite Disaster Services, will spend the weekend
removing debris from homes and addressing immediate needs
during the clean up and recovery stages. IOCC is also
participating in early stages of the long-term recovery
committee being established by community leaders in
Greenbriar County and the West Virginia Voluntary Agencies
Active in Disaster (VOAD).

Reverend Father Andrew Lentz, an IOCC Frontliner from
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Akron, Ohio, is
among the early responders providing emotional and
spiritual comfort to flood victims. He also blessed the
fire trucks used in the rescue of the residents in the
hardest hit flood zones. “I was reminded by the FEMA
head of the Disaster Recovery Center in Rainelle that,
‘While every disaster has its own character, this
one is very personal; these are very close communities and
nobody is left untouched by the devastation,’”
Father Andrew stated. “Many people we met wanted to
know, ‘Why me? Why did this happen?’ All we
can do as Frontliners is be present with them and help
them carry their burden in that moment.”

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Make a donation. You can help the victims
of disasters in the United States, like the West Virginia
floods, by making a financial gift to the United States Emergency
Response Fund
. Your support will provide
immediate relief as well as long-term support through
emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to
help those in need. To make a gift, please visit
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.

Assemble emergency kits. IOCC also
anticipates the need for Emergency Clean-Up Buckets which
are in low supply. For directions on how to assemble
Emergency Clean-Up Buckets, please visit iocc.org/kits.

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN
CHARITIES

IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the
Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United
States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has
delivered $580 million in relief and development programs
to families and communities in more than 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 iocc.org.

Media contact: Rada K. Tierney, IOCC Media Relations,
443-823-3489, rtierney@iocc.org

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