Deptford, NJ – The International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) celebrated the 30th year of its founding at its Annual Banquet on October 30, 2022. The event was held at the Pan Athenian Ballroom of the Adelphia Restaurant in Deptford, NJ.
A capacity attendance of over 330 persons joined the festivities, among them members of the Clergy of at least 20 Orthodox parishes representing several nations. The Eleventh Benefit Banquet was sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Committee of the IOCC. It was hosted by Bill Balis and Evelyn Balis of the Adelphia Restaurant and covered by Stelios Lambrou of the National Herald, Vasilis Keisoglou of Cosmos Philly, and Paul Kotrotsios of Hellenic News of America. Many volunteers gave hours of dedicated work to make this event a success.
The festivities began with the introduction and welcome of the IOCC by The Very Rev. Christoforos Oikonomidis, Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey, and remarks by the Master of Ceremonies, Anthony Pantazopoulos, Chairman, Greater Philadelphia Committee of the IOCC, with the Opening Prayer by His Grace, the Right Reverend Bishop Thomas, Diocese of Oakland, Charleston and the Mid-Atlantic, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. Following dinner, the Keynote Speaker, Louis A. Zagami, IOCC Development Officer, spoke about the successful history of the IOCC, the worldwide volunteers, and examples of the support it provides to people in need in over 60 countries. He asserted that, through the organization’s networking, every charitable donation was increased sevenfold by additional contributions, and it had already provided over $ 770 million distributed worldwide.
A special “surprise” was the introduction of a young man, Arsen Krok, who sang and played the Bandura, a harp-like stringed instrument with 20-60 strings. Arsen is a recent immigrant from Ukraine who received a standing ovation from the appreciative audience.
As in the past, the event included a “silent auction,” including no less than 59 items, their inherent value estimated at around $12,000.
The event was closed with remarks and a Closing Prayer by Bishop Thomas.