International Orthodox Christian Charities:
Helping Others Help Themselves...throughout the world.
Assemble a “Gift of the Heart” Health Kit or School Kit to Help Victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Find out more about the IOCC, its various programs and project - & how to help by going to their website:
Fr. Antonio Perdomo is one among many Orthodox Clergy in the USA who are part of a trained, Emergeny Response Network. He has been asked to go and help with hurricane relief efforts, and is en route to Coastal Missippi and Alabama right now.
See an article about these relief efforts from: www.oca.org
Article posted: 9/24/2005 2:50 PM
SOUTH RIVER, NJ [OCA Communications] — As the Rev. David Garretson returned to his pastorate at Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church here on September 17 after nine days of ministry in the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, the Rev. Antonio Perdomo was making final preparations to leave his parish of Saint George in Pharr, TX on Sunday, September 25 to join relief efforts undertaken by International Orthodox Christian Charities [IOCC].
|The Rev. David Garretson of SS. Peter and Paul Church, South River, NJ [left], along with a priestmonk of the Moscow Patriarchate [center] and the Rev. David Kossey of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese stand ready to unload a truckload of essential items for the Hurricane Katrina victims in Biloxi, MS.|
Both priests received rapid response training through IOCC, the pan-Orthodox humanitarian agency under the aegis of the Standing Conference of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in the Americas. And Father Antonio has experience working with FEMA in New Mexico and GEMA in the state of Georgia.
While Father Antonio has yet to personally witness the damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the latter of which hit the Texas coast on Friday, September 23, with less fury than initially expected, Father David returns home with stark images of Katrina's devastation.
Biloxi, MS, where Father David helped coordinate IOCC's relief efforts, "had a sense of unrealness.... I've never seen anything like that. It looked like the set of a sci-fi movie. People were the walking wounded."
Father David, who was trained in disaster relief after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, helped get trailers of aid and distribute emergency supplies from IOCC in Biloxi.
"I just think the faith-based groups are good first responders," Father David said in an interview with central New Jersey's Home News Tribune, adding that IOCC and similar groups responded to the mounting needs well before other agencies.
Father David spent much of his time coordinating trucks and supplies. About 30 percent of the time he counseled people, including volunteers whose own homes had been destroyed. He recalled how victims, "shocked, running on adrenaline," dug through the remains of their homes, hoping to find pieces of their past -- a "classic case of innocent suffering."
Father David emphasized that, while many people had donated clothing and stuffed animals to hurricane victims, such things make it burdensome to distribute essential items. The best thing to contribute, he said, is money to a reputable charity. Donations sent to IOCC by faithful of the Orthodox Church in America's parishes and funds sent to similar relief and humanitarian agencies are essential in helping victims rebuild their lives.
While Father David, who plans to return to the Gulf Coast for a few days to assist new workers, is enjoying his return to parish life, Father Antonio is anxious to begin his temporary ministry, knowing that in several days he'll be joining Father David in saying, "I'm still overwhelmed by the experience."
Click here for photos of the hurricane relief efforts.