NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has distributed a total of $620,775 to persons affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic in the USA, as was officially reported by the Archdiocese in a lengthy article on its web site.
Excerpts from the post follow:
“’What you are doing is the work of God!’ These words come from Matt of Long Island City, NY, the beneficiary of a grant from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America COVID-19 Relief Fund. Matt is one of 358 grant recipients who received much needed assistance after being financially impacted by the global pandemic. The grant he received helped pay some of the bills that had accumulated after his commission-only income disappeared. When he received notice of his grant he exclaimed, ‘I am so grateful to the Archdiocese for helping me. This grant was God sent!’
“The Archdiocese COVID -19 Relief Fund began with a generous donation and grew with donations large and small, from all over the country to $620,000. From its inception through the closing of applications, the Fund has been fully distributed to Orthodox Christian and non-Orthodox Christians alike. Recipients come from 25 states, with the majority of assistance to the most hard-hit areas across the nation, such as New York City.
“The Fund, which was established in March 2020 under the direction of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros, was an important part of the Archdiocese’s efforts to support those around the country impacted by the coronavirus and who faced hardship. The maximum assistance was $2,500 per applicant, and payments were made on behalf of applicants directly to vendors to whom they owed money for critical items such as mortgage, rent, medical, gas, electric, food, childcare, and funerals.
Applicants ranged from single parents trying to keep up with bills after losing their personal businesses to families where all members lost their jobs. One thing the recipients have in common is their thankfulness for help when they needed it most.
“Keisha from Brooklyn, NY is an independent contractor who lost her job when COVID -19 hit the New York area. She feared that she would become homeless. Help came just in time. Keisha commented, ‘It was through the Grace of God that I learned about the Covid-19 Relief Fund from the local church community in Brooklyn. I went from crying each day about the dire situation I was facing, to crying happy tears after receiving a grant from the Fund. I can’t thank you enough for your help at my deepest time of need. I am relieved, ecstatic and grateful. It is a miracle that you are here to help.’
“Another grateful grant recipient, Katherine, a widow for many years with two college-aged children, had planned ahead financially and, as difficult as it was, was able to maintain a balanced lifestyle. However, she said, ‘this pandemic was not planned for. The bills are still due. We are three adults in this home and we are trying to survive now. I had no other choice but to apply for a grant from the Archdiocese Relief Fund.’ When Katherine received word that she did indeed qualify she cried, then she felt blessed and said a prayer, thanking God for the opportunity to receive comfort at this time. ‘Just when you think there is no way out of a difficult situation, God comes through.’
“Patience from FL says the grant relieved stress and has helped her look forward to better days. ‘I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Just thinking about receiving this help makes me cry. I am widowed and have been out of a job since March 19th because of the Coronavirus and the elimination of my position. There is so much stress and all at the same time.’ With a new job and some financial relief, Patience is optimistic about the future saying, ‘I felt like it was taken away all at once but is being given back in the same manner. Please tell everyone how grateful I am.’
“The Archdiocese responded immediately to the effects of the pandemic and continues to receive words of deep appreciation from grant recipients across the country for its nationwide support of those who most affected.
“The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, through the support of many generous donors, spared no effort in a time of desperate need. We are committed to you, the faithful, and to anyone in the USA who needs financial assistance.”
Grant recipient names were used with permission.