Through the generous response by faithful throughout the Orthodox Church in America to a special spring 1999 appeal by His Beatitude, Metropolitan Theodosius, the OCA has sent $91,950 to International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC]. The funds have been earmarked for IOCC’s “Assistance to Returnees in Southwest Kosovo, Vulnerable and Displaced in Serbia and Montenegro” Project.
In a letter to Mr. Constantine M. Triantafilou, IOCC Executive Director, dated 24 November 1999, Protopresbyter Robert Kondratick, OCA Chancellor, stated that the funds were collected “in response to the devastating human tragedy that has occurred and is occurring in Serbia, Kosovo, and other lands in the Balkans. The tragedy is especially meaningful for many of us in the Orthodox Church in America who have relatives and friends from that region of the world.”
“We hope that this gift from the Orthodox Church in America, along with our fervent prayers, will aid all the various relief agencies and humanitarian aid workers laboring in the region,” Father Kondratick added.
According to Mr. Samir Ishak, IOCC Director of Operations, the “Assistance to Returnees” project has a target value of $3,505,884. Through mid-November IOCC had received approximately one half of this amount.
The OCA’s contribution will compliment IOCC’s existing programs with old and new caseload refugees of all ethnic backgrounds. “In addition to providing life-sustaining assistance to these groups with OCA funding, IOCC will continue its highly successful refugee self-help initiatives,” Mr. Ishak explained.
IOCC maintains a wide network of collaborating local partners that gives IOCC unparalleled access to the most vulnerable groups of refugees throughout Serbia, including the destitute southeastern regions such as Nis, Krusevac, and Knjazevac. Such access enables IOCC to target and deliver humanitarian assistance to those most in need in a timely, well-targeted and cost-effective manner.
Established in the early 1990s as the humanitarian aid organization of Orthodox Christians in North America, IOCC maintains its international headquarters in Baltimore, MD.