God Bless All The Participants! We Did It Again!
Having raised the bar to 15,000 Christmas stockings, with more participation than ever, close to 600 parishes, church schools, FOCA chapters, youth groups, parish organizations and individuals raised the $60,000 needed to reach the goal.
Recipients of the gifts included children in Albania, Belarus, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Alaska and Mexico. One of the responses from the countries to which the gifts were sent was Metropolitan Sawa of Poland. Upon receiving the stockings, he wrote “In the name of all the recipients, I express profound gratitude to all those who contributed to this charitable endeavor.” He further stated that the gifts would shortly be distributed to children from needy families, and for that purpose, “holyday Christmas gatherings are being organized in our parishes for these children.”
According to Arlene Kallaur, Director of the Office of Humanitarian Aid, “Children and teens from church schools, FOCA chapters and youth groups undertook a variety of projects to raise the funds. Collecting five cent deposits on cans and bottles, a bowl-a-thon and a pizza party were among the new project themes reported this year, while bake sales were the most popular. Workers at the Cerebral Palsy Center again filled the stockings with holiday goodies, an icon and a toothbrush.”
Mr. Alexis Troubetskoy, who was in Moscow on behalf of IOCC last year, recently recounted to Mrs. Kallaur, project coordinator, his unexpected visit to a children’s cancer hospital there on the day that they were giving out the Christmas stockings. “Receiving a stocking brought such joy and cheer to these sick children, and tears to my eyes, especially realizing that they might not see another Christmas.”