Valley Forge, PA – St. Sophia Greek Orthodox church played host to the 3rd annual IOCC banquet. The annual event brings together the Greater Philadelphia area Orthodox community.
The evening began with a silent auction and was highlighted by instrumental music by the Pan-Orthodox Choir of Greater Philadelphia. Following a cocktail reception, and dinner, Anthony Pantazopoulos (chairman of the Greater Philadelphia Committee of the IOCC), Lou Zagami (development officer) and Mark Gruin (director of strategic Initiatives) each spoke on behalf of the IOCC.
Lou Zagami spoke about his many travels for the organization and in particular his last trip to Greece. “The middle class has been hit the hardest” said Zagami. Greece’s ongoing battle to survive the crisis that has plagued the country these years has brought much attention from the IOCC. He also spoke about the endeavors of the organization across Africa, while Gruin discussed through his slide show future projects in that country which included supplying water to it’s many poor.
Through out the evening the message was repeated and two key facts were stated. For each dollar donated, the IOCC has through its grant efforts matching funds that make it become 7 dollars in total, and that 90% of each dollar goes towards relief. A fact that no other organization with philanthropic efforts of this kind can state anywhere else today.
The IOCC Philadelphia branch has members from throughout it’s ethnic community which was evident on Friday evening. Clergy and laymen, from the Russian, Ukrainian, Antiochian, Bulgarian and Serbian communities were all present, making this event a truly Pan-Orthodox success.
As the speakers concluded there comments, Pantazopoulos ended with, “ The IOCC is on the frontline where ever there are civil wars, strife and people in need. You can be one person who makes a difference in someones life”.