Efforts expand to long-term needs as families seek stability amid uncertainty
Baltimore, Md. (October 26, 2018) – International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) continues relief efforts in East Attica after July’s deadly fires, now offering vouchers for school supplies, basic furniture, and kitchen appliances for families whose homes were badly damaged or destroyed.
IOCC—in cooperation with Apostoli, the humanitarian arm of the Archdiocese of Athens—is providing prepaid school-supply cards according to affected families with limited income and school-age children. These cards allow recipients to shop at a large office-supply and bookstore chain for the specific items they need as the school year gets underway.
Families with limited income whose houses were badly damaged by the fires are also eligible for assistance purchasing items such as cooktops, washers, beds, tables, and chairs to help make their homes livable again.
“We’ve got and used the school-supply vouchers,” one mother of two young students in Mati wrote to staffers via text message. “You have a very big ‘thank you’ from all of us and especially from our children… Through these hardships, we are being taught great solidarity lessons.” She concluded, “I am grateful for the smile and the emotion of relief I saw on my children’s faces.”
In addition to this new assistance, IOCC continues supporting access to food with prepaid grocery cards, also distributed through Apostoli, so families affected by the fires can shop a local chain on their own for essentials like Greek-grown produce, dairy, and meat. Many families are also using the assistance to buy much-needed cleaning supplies for their damaged homes. The cards allow recipients to determine what their most immediate needs are and to address them with flexibility and independence.
Complementing support for individuals and families, IOCC is helping communities regroup after the fires, supplying trash bins to the municipalities of Rafina-Pikermi and Marathon. The new bins replace those that were destroyed by intense heat and flames. Having them in place means that waste collection can resume, making cleanup easier for residents.
Those wishing to support IOCC’s response to the Attica wildfires can do so with a financial gift online (iocc.org/greecefires) or by phone (877.803.4622).
IOCC is the humanitarian and development agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has provided more than $661 million in humanitarian relief and sustainable development programs in over 60 countries worldwide. Today, IOCC applies its expertise in humanitarian response to man-made and natural crises in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States, offering assistance based solely on need.
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Photo credit: International Orthodox Christian Charities / Lefteris Partsalis.
Photo caption: Evangleos Skaltsas, a recipient of assistance through IOCC’s fire response, showed IOCC staff his house in Mati. Gutted by the fires, his home illustrates the pressing need for basics like cooktops and furniture for families who lost everything. Photo: International Orthodox Christian Charities / Lefteris Partsalis.