NEW YORK – The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America announced that following the launching of the Greece Fires Relief Fund, and the call of His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros for parishes to take a special collection for the effort, that over $750,000 has been raised in order to provide support and long-term assistance to the many individuals and businesses that have suffered as a result of the devastating fires.
As of today, over $300,000 has been collected from individuals and parishes, including the online fundraising efforts. Leadership 100 has also provided a $200,000 matching grant which has been met, the Order of Saint Andrew Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate has pledged a $50,000 matching gift which has been met, and the Archdiocese is contributing $200,000 from available restricted funds.
After receiving a full report on the fundraising effort, His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros commented, “these past weeks have been filled with sorrow and pain as we have watched the fires in Greece consume so much of our beloved Motherland, and yet at the same time, the faithful of the Archdiocese have responded in an overwhelming measure. Today, as we are made aware of our current fundraising efforts, I call upon the entire Omogenia, the faithful, the parishes, the Philoptochos chapters, the youth groups, the schools, the regional federations and all of our brothers and sisters to continue donating whatever you can, to help us reach at least $1 million, so that we can offer impactful assistance.”
In addition, IOCC, which has partnered with the Archdiocese to in order to identify specific needs and distribute the funds collected, has deployed staff, following proper COVID-19 protocols, in order to begin the “needs assessment” in Attica and Evia, starting in Evia. IOCC staff are scheduling meetings with community leaders, impacted population, shelters, Church and government official, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are present in the effected regions, as well as several others. The needs assessment process is expected to take approximately two weeks and is a critical part of the response, as it identifies vulnerable populations and points of contact for coordination, access and procurement. If the team discovers urgent needs during the assessment process, that will be prioritized for immediate review and consideration.
This crucial needs assessment will allow the Archdiocese and IOCC to better understand the context situation after the fires. The team will look at issues including, but not limited to: categories and number of vulnerable groups impacted (elderly, persons with disabilities and others); existing assistance being provided by the government or other NGOs; security and safety issues that may impact access to service delivery; emergency shelter and transitional housing issues; and other basic needs related to agriculture, water, sanitation and nutrition.
Once finalized, the needs assessment results will shape Archdiocese and IOCC’s short-, medium-, and long-term response to ensure quality programming and compliance with local and international humanitarian standards. In addition, the Archdiocese will continue to provide the faithful with updates both in regards to the fundraising efforts as well as how the funds are being distributed.