By Margaret Yates (President)
We are blessed in so many different ways, one of the most important being the ability to give to those less fortunate. The Christmas season is especially busy as we increase our efforts to make the season brighter for those who otherwise would not have a hot meal or any gifts under the tree.
Highlights include the evening event of “Bright Lights, Big City and the Spirit of Detroit” held at St. Nicholas in Troy, MI. Proceeds from the event were donated to Focus Detroit, Read Detroit, Empowerment Plan, S.A.Y. Detroit, Yoga Moves and Angel’s House.
Holy Trinity/St. Nicholas in Cincinnati held their annual “Sweet Treats from the Greeks” Bake Sale for Christmas. Profits from the sale benefit Philoptochos charities and remaining pastries were taken to the City Gospel Mission for dessert where chapter members prepared and served dinner for approximately 175.
The Assumption Philoptochos in Springfield, OH decided to continue their outreach of feeding families. For the first time they made a donation to Wellness Springs, a mental health organization that offers rehab and an attempt to mend families split due to various addictions. One of the goals is to teach families to prepare an affordable meal together utilizing a crockpot, and to eat dinner together at the table. Families attend classes for several weeks learning and sampling recipes, and at the end of successful sessions, each family receives a new crockpot and recipes.
Holy Cross in Farmington Hills donated children’s books to Focus Hope and held a coat drive, collecting coats for people in need. They also purchased grocery cards to give to needy families at Christmas.
St. Sophia in Syracuse helped to organize the parish donations of Christmas presents to some of the families that use the food pantry they are involved with. They helped pack and distribute food baskets for the pantry clients. They helped Fr. David with the Christmas parish retreat and donated funds to sponsor an icon of Sts. Cosmas and Damianos as part of the church icon project.
Grand Blanc’s Assumption Philoptochos donated 17 brand new winter coats for needy children in elementary and middle school, donated a pick-up truck load of food to the local food bank, assisted needy parishioners with money from their Angel Fund, and continue helping to serve lunch each month at the Catholic Center for Hope in downtown Flint. In addition, they donated money to help send three members of the church to a chanter workshop in the Carolinas.
St. Demetrios in Saginaw held a “Pre-Order Bake Sale in time for Christmas and used all of the funds to give to their causes. They participated in the “One Warm Coat” project and had many coats for men women and children donated by the congregation. The coats were all donated to the Saginaw Underground Railroad, the only provider of emergency shelter, services, leadership and programs to end domestic and sexual violence in the community. Additionally, they donated to the church’s Christmas Food Basket Program.
Lexington ended the year by donating to various organizations recommended by their Charitable Contributions Committee. $200 to Cystic Fibrosis, $500 to Missions of Lexington, a non-profit that provides free medical and dental care, $500 to Shepherds House, a residential faith based program for substance abuse, $500 to Give Kids a Chance, a non-profit that provides homeless school children and their families a safe apartment, all expenses paid for three months and $500 to Stride (Supporting Therapeutic Recreation to individuals with Disabilities Everyday).
There is so much more. Because of space, the next issue will highlight chapters from Dayton, Sterling Heights and Ithaca.
2017’s first National Commitment is directed to St. Basil Academy. Funds are generated through various Vasilopita celebrations. I have heard from a few chapters listed below.