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NEW YORK, NY – International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) recently hosted an event to raise awareness, as well as funds, for disaster relief and economic development throughout the world.
IOCC Development Officer Louis Zagami told TNH that for every dollar the organization raises, 92 cents goes directly to the needy, and they can leverage seven times that amount through grants. “It’s not about giving a handout but a helping hand up…helping people stuck in a bad place… usually not their fault.”
Zagami recalls vising beneficiaries recently in Greece and noticing a different type of poverty. He saw a businessman dressed in a suit waiting in line for food for his family due to the economic crisis. While this poverty is not as public as poverty in say, Ethiopia, he points out that it’s still poverty. With the struggling economy, salaries are getting cut and many families can barely make ends meet.
That’s where IOCC steps in.
Since the crisis hit, they have distributed 23 million dollars and are still actively involved in helping Greece. This is also why Zagami says more awareness, such as the May 24 event in New York, needs to be raised in the states and the rest of the world about the need for those who can afford to financially give to learn about the plight of those who aren’t sure when their next meal is coming…or how it’s getting on the table.
Zagami visits thirty different parishes throughout the year on the East Coast for this very reason. Most people especially Greeks seeing their own country suffer want to give but don’t know how and IOCC fills that void.
From the 2007 fires that burned in Greece to the financial collapse, others across the world are helping IOCC help countries getting hit with turmoil and helplessness. But it’s not just Greece being helped.
Over 110 million dollars has gone into Syria, Lebanon and Jordan just to name a few other countries since the refugee crisis started about five years ago. With hundreds of volunteers all over the world, Zagami describes his organization as “doing great things but with humility.”