NEWS

Greek Americans join relief effort

With thousands of innocent civilians having perished in the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, and many remaining homeless and jobless since the collapse of the World Trade Center, the Greek-American community and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese are joining nationwide relief efforts. The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America has asked that all parishes conduct a memorial service tomorrow to commemorate the 40 days that have passed since thousands of people were killed that Tuesday morning. On this solemn occasion let each and every one of us light a special candle for the September 11 victims, the proceeds of which should be sent to the Sept. 11 Relief Fund of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, an encyclical instructed. The relief fund and the Sept. 11 Relief Center at the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, located close to the disaster site in New York City, were founded by the Archdiocese. Contributions to the fund presently total $1.2 million and have been generated by organizations, individuals and parishes from across the country and around the world. Moreover, the newly established Department of Philanthropy of the Archdiocese, headed by Archimandrite Antonios Paropoulos, is also expected to play an important role in relief efforts. Both the Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek-American community suffered losses that Tuesday morning last month, as several Americans of Greek descent died while at work in the Twin Towers and St. Nicholas Church was crushed under the falling debris. The Archdiocese announced that the church will be rebuilt once rescue workers have completed their work and construction crews have cleared the debris from the area. In a gesture of support and concern over the destruction of St. Nicholas Church, Martin Kaplan, chairman of the American-Jewish Committee (AJC), this week donated $10,000 of AJC funds to the Archdiocese for the church’s reconstruction. This gesture is a treasure, a movement of the heart, Archbishop Demetrios of America said after the meeting. In addition to the relief efforts of the Archdiocese, there is a similar campaign by the Greek-American community organized by the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA). AHEPA Supreme President Andrew T. Banis announced recently that the association was launching an international fund-raising drive to raise $100,000 for disaster relief needed as a result of last month’s terrorist attacks. This announcement builds upon a previous call directed to its chapters and members to provide disaster relief by organizing blood drives and donating blood. As our nation prepares for a sustained campaign against terrorism the Greek-American community must stand side-by-side with this effort, offering our resources for the protection of democracy, freedom, and humanity, Banis said. Therefore, I am calling on the AHEPA family to focus all its energy in this effort to raise a minimal amount of $100,000 by November 1. According to Banis, once the fund-raising goal is achieved, the funds will be allocated to one or more of the charitable organizations assisting with disaster relief, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the Firefighter’s Fund. The $100,000 raised will be in addition to the financial contribution provided by AHEPA to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Established in 1922, AHEPA is the largest Greek-American association in the world with its own chapters in the USA, Canada and Greece, as well as sister chapters in Australia. MIRON VAROUHAKIS How to make donations – Donations by check: The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in cooperation with all other Orthodox Christian churches in the United States, has established the September 11 Relief Fund to help those affected by these tragic events. To make a donation, call (001) 212-570-3595 or make checks payable to the SEPTEMBER 11 RELIEF FUND and send to: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America SEPTEMBER 11 RELIEF FUND 8 East 79th Street New York, NY 10021 USA Donations in the form of checks for the AHEPA relief fund should be made payable to: AHEPA Charitable Fund, and to be earmarked by stating: For National Tragedy Relief Fund. Checks should be mailed to: AHEPA 1909 Q Street, N.W., Suite 500 Washington, D.C. 20009 USA – Donations by credit card: The Archdiocese also accepts credit card donations on-line at www.goarch.org, or by calling (001) 212-570-3595. Credit card donations are also accepted by AHEPA; their headquarters can be reached at (001) 202-232-6300. For further details you can visit AHEPA on the Web at www.ahepa.org.