Baltimore, MD (IOCC) — On the same day that the Chicago Public Schools announced the closure of 54 schools, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) responded with a donation of $1 million in new books to benefit schoolchildren participating in after-school enrichment opportunities, mentoring and summer learning programs in the Chicago area. Bishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago, also the past president of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, facilitated the gift on behalf of Orthodox Christians in Chicago. More than 25,000 books will be distributed to educational programs and outreach efforts by members of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago (CRLMC), an alliance of chief religious leaders of the Greater Chicago faith communities, and coordinated by the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center.
The new books, which will also benefit Orthodox Christian day schools in the Chicago area, were blessed at two separate ceremonies on March 22 by His Eminence Archbishop Nicolae of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America and Canada, His Grace Bishop Longin of the Serbian Orthodox Diocese of New Gracanica and Midwestern America, and His Grace Bishop Peter of Cleveland of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. Reverend Paul Rutgers and Reverend Dr. Stanley L. Davis, Jr., Co-Executive Directors of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, joined the Orthodox hierarchs in dedicating the new books.
Chicago Bulls forward Vladimir Radmanovic, who has supported similar educational initiatives for underprivileged children in the US and his native Serbia throughout his 12-year NBA career, also attended one of the ceremonies and spent time meeting with some of the young recipients of the new books.
The books are part of a broader effort by IOCC to provide assistance in the United States where, over the past three years, the organization has distributed $30 million in educational support and emergency assistance to more than 20 states. IOCC plans to make the book distributions in Chicago an annual event in response to the continuing educational needs of the community's children.
ABOUT INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
IOCC is the official humanitarian aid agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of North and Central America. Since its inception in 1992, IOCC has delivered more than $400 million in relief and development programs to families and communities in 50 countries. IOCC is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy. To learn more about IOCC, visit www.iocc.org.