Philoptochos Initiatives & Projects
- Environmental Responsibility
- IOCC Emergency Preparedness Kits
- IOCC Health Kits
- Make a Difference with Philoptochos
- One Warm Coat
- Orthodox Christian Fellowship Connect Kits
- Wishing Trees
Inspired by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew who is known as the Green Patriarch throughout the world, the National Philoptochos Environment Responsibility Committee promotes awareness of its members to their relationship with the environment. The environment is a work of God, and we must act responsibly to protect the Earth’s natural resources. To promote the Patriarch’s message, the committee features a bimonthly communication of “Green Tips” which help sustain the environment on the Philoptochos website. The Philanthropy Witness provides a direct link to all communications and a permanent link is housed on the Philoptochos Facebook page.
September is National Preparedness Month. In keeping with this initiative, the National Philoptochos Society encourages all local Chapters to distribute within their parishes the Emergency Preparedness Kits prepared by IOCC and FEMA. The Emergency Kits address both physical needs and financial issues. In addition to a list of emergeny supplies to keep on hand (food, water, flashlights, etc.), the kits provide a list of personal financial information and legal documents to keep on hand in a safe place in case of emergency. All information and documents in this Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) should be copied and maintained off-site in a safety deposit box.
In 2005, the National Philoptochos Society initiated the "Gifts of the Heart" project in cooperation with International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) to aid the people devastated by the Asian earthquake and tsunami catastrophes.
Philoptochos Chapters throughout the United States packaged basic necessities in one-gallon plastic zip-lock bags. The items included a hand towel and washcloth, comb, nail file, or clippers, bar of soap, toothpaste and toothbrush, band-aids, paper, pencils, etc. These Health Kits make a tremendous difference to the victimes of the disaster. The Chapters packed the kits in shipping boxes and forwarded them to IOCC/Church World Service for distribution to the victims.
At its May 2015 meeting, the National Board adopted a cross-generational initiative to honor His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios on the occasion of his Nameday on October 26. In conjunction with Make a Difference Day, which occurs each year in late October, chapters across the US were encouraged to sponsor projects involving the children in their parishes in “acts of kindness” in order to teach our youth about giving back to their communities and to directly involve them in philanthropy.
One Warm Coat
The One Warm Coat campaign is a project for the holidays and throughout the winter season. National Philoptochos has partnered with One Warm Coat, a San Francisco based organization that facilitates the distribution of coats to the needy and unfortunate. Chapters conduct a coat drive to collect gently used and cleaned coats and jackets and then take them to a drop off location in their local area for distribution.
One Warm Coat will help chapters organize a coat drive. Free tools including banners, flyers, a thermometer for your goal, thank you letters, etc. are available once the chapter registers at onewarmcoat.org. Finally, they will provide a list of distribution centers within a specific zip code where chapters can drop off the coats.
Click here for the announcement letter of the project with more details.
In the spirit of the mission of the Philoptochos Society, which encourages the perpetuation and the promotion of our Orthodox faith and traditions, the National Philoptochos supports the Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF), which was established through the Department of Youth Ministry of the Archdiocese. Orthodox Christian Fellowship is a group of people on a university or college campus who come together for fellowship, to learn more about the Orthodox faith, and to maintain their bonds to the Church. OCF has been called a "lifeline" for students, providing them with opportunities to stay connected with, and to grow in, the faith. The OCF is partnering with the National Philoptochos to help our students stay connected to the Church by utilizing the "Connect Kit."
This collection of essentials includes a New Testament, icons, Orthodox prayer books, books on the Orthodox faith, and other resources. The National Philoptochos has been instrumental in raising awareness of this resource, through promotion and sponsorship within our Chapters.
The Philoptochos Wishing Tree Initiative is a way we can remember those in need and offer them a tangible gift of our love at Christmastime, much as the Magi did with the Christ child. Homeless shelters, nursing homes, and foster care programs are just a few of the agencies that could benefit from a “Wishing Tree.”
Philoptochos Chapters are encouraged to choose an organization or charity within your community and “adopt” it for Christmas. This may be a new charity or one you already have a relationship with. Once you have chosen the agency and developed a list, of needs and wants, make ornaments with the “wishes” listed and decorate a tree with them for your church. This is a wonderful opportunity to involve the youth groups, Sunday school and even the entire parish to participate and learn that it is better to give than to receive.