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Philanthropy Witness
The Official Newsletter of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society

December 2019

#GIVINGTUESDAY- DECEMBER 3RD

This #GivingTuesday we’re fundraising for our new Caregiver Campaign. Our goal is $250,000. We need your help.
 
How can you help?
As a supporter of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc., we need your help. Create a Facebook fundraiser on December 3rd, and share it with your friends on #GivingTuesday. Creating a fundraiser is easy and we welcome fundraisers with any goal amount.

Start a Fundraiser

Where will the money raised go?
This #GivingTuesday, we are fundraising for Social Services to develop programs that will provide resources, support and agape to Orthodox Christians suffering from many human service challenges One of the actions we will focus on will respond to the needs of caregivers. When a loved one is ill, it is not only the sick person who suffers. Their Caregivers experience high levels of stress, loss of income, which could make them vulnerable to homelessness, and many other resulting problems. Our programs are unique because they are informed by our religion, culture, and spirituality. Your contributions of any amount will allow us to expand our reach, to help more people, in more ways. Our goal is $250,000.

Every dollar raised benefits Social Services and the Caregiver Campaign.

Facebook is contributing up to a $7 Million match to US nonprofits for #GivingTuesday 2019. Starting 8:00am EST (5am PST) on December 3, 2019, the match will go live, matching dollar for dollar on a first-come, first-served basis, until it hits $7 million matched.

Thank you for your support!
2019 CHILDREN'S MEDICAL FUND LUNCHEON


METROPOLIS OF CHICAGO PHILOPTOCHOS HOSTS HISTORIC
RECORD-BREAKING 17TH NATIONAL PHILOPTOCHOS
CHILDREN’S MEDICAL FUND LUNCHEON
An Afternoon of Agape 

Outside, it was unseasonably cold, but inside, hearts were warm. The 17th Biennial National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon was hosted by the Metropolis of Chicago Philoptochos on November 16, 2019. More than 1150 guests joined His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael of Chicago, Philoptochos Spiritual Advisor Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, National President Maria Logus, and the Metropolis of Chicago Philoptochos Society for an inspirational afternoon of agape.
 
Over $500,000 was raised for innovative research programs at pediatric hospitals throughout the United States and organizations with special programs that care for children with critical and life threatening illnesses and disabilities. Nearly $300,000 was disbursed to 17 programs situated within the Metropolis of Chicago at the luncheon. The remaining funds will be disbursed in the coming year to programs throughout the country, leading up to the 2020 National Philoptochos Convention in Cleveland.
 
The Kids Helping Kids project was a new initiative this year. Young people in churches throughout the Metropolis of Chicago sponsored ‘lemon-aid’ stands and other fundraisers during the months leading up to the luncheon. The youth raised over $20,000 in support of the program. This is another example of Philoptochos engaging our youth in philanthropy.
 
Andrea Darlas, award-winning Chicago media personality, served as emcee for the afternoon. Rev. Mark Munoz, Proistamenos of Holy Anargyroi SS. Cosmas & Damianos Church in Rochester, MN was the guest speaker and inspired the guests with personal reflections of his 5 year-old daughter’s battle with cancer. A grown-up and healthy Nina Munoz, followed her father, greeted the audience, and filled the room with love and thanksgiving for the work of the Children’s Medical Fund. Jeffrey Michals, husband of Anastasia Michals, 2017 Children’s Medical Fund Chair, received a recognition and honor in her memory, and shared touching and heartfelt reminiscences of her work in Philoptochos. Finally, the audience was joyfully entertained during the luncheon by Philoptochos Friends in Music, which presented a medley of Chicago and American favorites.

To read about the 17 worthy grant recipients that work to benefit the medical needs of children in the six states that comprise the Metropolis of Chicago, click here.

National Philoptochos’ profound thanks go to the many sponsors and stewards, without whose generosity this event would not have been possible. Heartfelt thanks to Metropolis of Chicago President and Luncheon Chair, Pam Argyris; Co-Chairs Irene Arsoniadis, Georgia Sarlas, and Marilyn Tzakis; and their dedicated committees for an enormously successful and heartwarming event.

Finally, we thank everyone who joined us in Chicago on the Magnificent Mile to once again “Rejoice and Embrace the Children.”

 

 

WISHING YOU A BLESSED CHRISTMAS

To the members of the National Philoptochos Board, the Metropolis Philoptochos Boards, Chapter Presidents and stewards and friends of Philoptochos: 

In days gone by - and by that I mean my youth - there was a regularity to the passage of seasons and the images and signs of holidays.  In the waning days of summer, came “back to school” signs, followed by autumnal  costumes and the orange and black of Halloween.  And, with the celebration of Thanksgiving, and with crumbs of pumpkin pie still fresh on our lips, we knew that the Christmas season was finally upon us. 

Today, the earliest Christmas decorations appear along side bathing suits and beach balls.  Months before December 25th, store windows are festooned with computer generated images of colorful trees and gleeful elves crafting gifts for both the naughty and the nice.  And by the time that Advent is finally and truly upon us, we risk being desensitized to the true meaning and glory of the Feast of the Nativity - or worse, that it is wholly lost in the whirl of fake snow and secularized carols.

As Orthodox Christians, and as stewards of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, we must try, with all our hearts and souls, to embrace the essence of Christ’s life and the lessons to be taken from it.  In the center of the Christmas story is Christ’s denial of all things he rightly deserved—all to become a “servant, being made in human likeness.”  (Phillipians 2:6-7)

Of course, we are awed by Christ’s service - working miracles, healing illness, ousting demons, and preaching his Father’s word.  But Christ’s greatest service was the salvation of mankind and the model of selfless giving he left for all of us.  To truly follow Christ’s example, we must do more than simply volunteer; we must offer our help to everyone and anyone in need, with hearts filled with pure love and kindness and with an absence of judgment or scorn.  To be worthy of Christ’s service, we must love and serve our brothers and sisters unconditionally, fully and without reservation.

I pray that the miracle of Christ’s birth will bless you and your loved ones with special joy this season.

 

Maria Logus

National Philoptochos President

COME... JOIN US!!!

On Saturday, October 19, 2019, a group of motivated Philoptochos women, representing multiple generations and traveling from all over the country, assembled at Saint Basil Academy.  The purpose?  To participate in the filming of a 2½ minute promotional video focused on breaking stereotypes. The video project is the final step in the Public Relations “facelift” for Philoptochos and the goal is to answer the questions, “What does Philoptochos do?” and “Who is Philoptochos for?” 
 
The video, or “sizzle reel,” promotes the Philoptochos mission and spreads the message that in today’s Philoptochos, there is a place for everyone.  As we move forward into the 21st century, we do so confidently and with appreciation for the work and wisdom of the generations of women who built our foundation.  With a renewed spirit and vision, we are united in Christ to serve those in need and to improve lives all over the world.  It is our hope that new members will be inspired to join the Philoptochos movement and that our chapters will continue to enthusiastically answer the call to action.
 
Please share this video at your Philoptochos and community meetings and events.  Our message is clear:  This is not only your Yiayia’s Philoptochos anymore! 

#Philoptochos #PhiloStrong #JoinUs #Philanthropy #Fellowship #FaithInAction
 

This production was made possible by:
Director- Nick Neofitidis @NikosTvNY; Produced by The Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Inc., Development & Information Officer Amy Kalogeropoulos; DP- Mike Farino; Gaffer- Aaron Smith; Grip- Peter Dooley; Assistant Camera- Mike Langenberger; Audio- Dre; Production Assistant- George Beno; Hair & Makeup- Maria Porfyris, Chanel, Lord & Taylor, Manhasset, NY; Catering- Kallie Tsitsipas, National Philoptochos Society Board Member

NATIONAL UPDATES
 
Money disbursed at the September 2019 National Board Executive Committee Meeting
 
Tree House, Wichita, Kansas- $16,400 
Earn While You Learn Program

 
In 2016, National Philoptochos disbursed $5,000 to the Tree House for baby formula, and in 2019, $16,400 for the Earn While You Learn Program, teaching skills to moms at the poverty level and below. Their mission is to offer mothers and babies a brighter future through sharing God’s love, basic necessities, education and genuine personal care. By incorporating Christ into everything they do at The Treehouse, they teach moms they are not alone in their struggles. When the world seems like a very dark place, they have someone and somewhere to turn for hope.

The Treehouse guides and empowers new moms by providing positive female role models, education and spiritual support. Showing and providing Christ’s love to moms who may not be exposed otherwise is core to The Treehouse mission. They gently encourage moms toward a spiritual life regardless of denomination. The reflection room at The Treehouse is always open for moms to pray, read a scripture or simply enjoy a quiet moment. In addition, The Treehouse provides economically challenged moms and children with basic necessities and programs. They also offer diapers and formula, parenting education, spiritual support and have an inexpensive thrift store with books, toys and clothes up to youth size 8. 


The generous check was delivered to Dana Cox, Director of The Treehouse, and members of the board on October 30, 2019. The Treehouse is located in Wichita, KS. This is the second donation that has been made to The Treehouse of Wichita Kansas. 
 
University of Maryland Health System Foundation, Inc.- $26,000
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

 
$26,000 was approved for equipment to monitor infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Shown is Metropolis of New Jersey President, Eleni Constantinides, accompanied by board members to deliver the check.
La Clinica Del Pueblo, Washington, DC- $5,500 
Mi Refugio Program

 
A donation of $5,500 Was approved to be used for food assistance for high school students in the program. Shown is National Board member Pat Gogos.
PHILANTHROPIC INITIATIVES, PROJECTS &
CHAPTER NEWS
OPERATION CLASSROOM
Putting the Right Foot Forward - Helping Students in Fort Wayne, IN
 

 

Holy Trinity Church Philoptochos chapter in Fort Wayne, IN adopted a local elementary school with a high percentage of needy children.  In August, we held a Shoe Drive to help the students "Start the School Year on the Right Foot."  Parishioners were able to select a "shoe" from a clothesline. Each color-coded shoe had the needed-size indicated. Through generous donations, we were able to outfit nearly 80 children with a pair of brand new shoes!  The Principal thanked us stating, "We were very pleasantly surprised at the number and value of the shoes purchased.  Knowing our students have shoes that fit appropriately that they can wear with pride is invaluable. With your generous donations, meeting our students' needs was less of a challenge.  You really do make a difference in children's lives!"

In January, we will be collecting boots, so our adopted students can "Kick Off the New Year on the Right Foot!"  We're also asking the ladies who attend the annual Christmas dinner to bring hats,  gloves, and socks for the students. 

 
Assumption Philoptochos Chapter in Grand Blanc, Michigan
 
The Assumption Philoptochos members have been hard at work, extending outreach to a wide variety of philanthropic endeavors in their area of Michigan.
 
  • Taking on the National Philoptochos “Operation Classroom” initiative,  they've adopted a public school in Flint, Michigan, providing both school and cleaning supplies throughout the school year.
  • Preparing and donating IOCC school kits every year.
  • For several years, the chapter has made monthly monetary donations to Love, INC – "Love in the name of Christ,"  whose mission is to mobilize local churches to transform lives and communities in the name of Christ.
  • Giving support to FISH, which helps needy families in the Grand Blanc school district by providing and distributing food and clothing and other services on a temporary or emergency basis.
  • Assumption partnered with other church organizations, donating over 3800 gallons of milk and boxing over 14,000 pounds of food for a local food bank, all of which were donated to citizens of Flint, Michigan.
. 
Milk drive for the Catholic Center for Hope

Ready to hand out food at the Grand Blanc Fish Charity

Food Bank of Eastern Michigan
Meal Packaging Event
St Nicholas Church, Wilmington NC

 
This fall, the women of the St. Nicholas Church Philoptochos, Ahepans and fellow parishioners, gathered to help package meals with "Rise Against Hunger."  They raised $8,795 which was enough to package over 26,100 meals.  With approximately 75 volunteers of all ages, it was a beautiful way to get together to help those in need.
 
RAH's mission is to end hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-changing aid to the world's most vulnerable and creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources.  More information is available at:   https://www.riseagainsthunger.org/
 
The event was co-chaired by Jimmie Stasios of AHEPA and Irene Sotiriou (Vogiatzis), Philoptochos Vice President.
 

 
 
DECEMBER NATIONAL COMMITMENTS

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) 

Total amount disbursed 1998 – 2018: $459,600.00

Philoptochos’ donations help UNICEF protect the rights, health and well-being of children worldwide.
Commitment Amount: Determined by Chapter


General Medical Fund

Total amount disbursed 2005 – 2018: $330,260.78 

The General Medical Fund provides financial assistance to adults afflicted with medical conditions which are outside the scope of other restricted funds. It also, in some cases, provides grants to organizations who care for Greek Orthodox individuals.
Commitment Amount: Determined by Chapter


For more information on Commitments & Programs, click here.  

Do you know that you can support Philoptochos by shopping through Amazon?

AmazonSmile (smile.Amazon.com) is the charitable division of Amazon.com. Customers enjoy the same wide selection of products and low prices as on Amazon.com, with the added benefit of knowing that 0.5% of the purchase price will be donated to the charitable organization of their choice.

Thank you for supporting Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society Inc by shopping at smile.amazon.com

National Philoptochos Online Giving Page
 
By clicking on the button below, an individual can make an online donation to National Philoptochos ministries such as Aid to Greece & Cyprus, Children's Medical Fund, National Philoptochos Social Services and more. The page can also be accessed through www.philoptochos.org via the Side Bar.
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If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or articles you'd like to submit to this publication, please contact communications@philoptochos.org.






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Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society · National Philoptochos Office · 126 East 37th Street · New York, NY 10016 · USA