We are truly blessed, not only for the many blessings we have received in our own lives, but for the ability to assist those less fortunate who are in need of a helping hand. May God bless the hands and hearts of each Philoptochos member in our Metropolis.
2016 began with the cutting of the Vasilopita, the first of nineteen National commitments. All proceeds benefit St. Basil Academy. Luncheons, auctions, trays passed after the Divine Liturgy and a variety of other activities were held. Typically, the monies raised in Vasilopita celebrations are greater than those of other commitments.
So many charities benefited from activities over the Christmas holidays and we will highlight a few. The Holy Cross Philoptochos in Farmington Hills, MI contributed non-perishable food items to the South Oakland Shelter to supplement the food pantry, and also contributed $500 to the shelter to assist the needy. The Philoptochos in Grand Blanc, MI donated money for a new stove and gift bags to Catholic Charities, contributed to the FISH project thru the Grand Blanc Schools to purchase items for those in need and purchased paperback books for those serving in the military. In Toledo, the members collected clothing items and sent 25 boxes to Samos for Syrian refugees, served a chicken dinner and gifts for 35 women and children at Aurora House, a transitional housing for homeless women and their children, and donated $1,000 to each of four local charities. In Ann Arbor, the tradition of ringing the bell for the Salvation Army continued and members took 35 children shopping for winter coats, boots, and warm winter clothing. Members also collected hats, mittens and scarves for the children at Pittsfield School, located in a depressed area of the community.
Special kudos to the Philoptochos in Carmel, IN. In addition to completing their pledge of $15,000 to the St. Nicholas Church/National Shrine, their Thanksgiving Outreach Project distributed $10,000 of Kroger Gift Cards to families in need. Also, coats, mittens, gloves and scarves were given to Breast Cancer patients through the Pink Ribbon Connection.
Our membership drive began in January. Stewardship will continue to be collected for both the National and Metropolis Philoptochos with per capita submitted by the 30th of April, utilizing the forms on the National website.
Most chapters in our Metropolis are participating in the Feed the Hungry initiative proposed by National President Maria Logus. Her goal of serving 250,000 meals should easily be reached by July.
Planning is well underway for the National Philoptochos Conference to be held in Nashville. Co-chair of the conference is National and Metropolis Board member Theone Dickos from Carmel, IN. We are hopeful that most, if not all, chapters will be represented.
Article originally published in the Shepherd's Staff Newsletter of February 2016.