The Outreach committee continues to explore ways in which it can help those in need during these times. If you have suggestions for ways the committee can help in our community or if you would like to participate in its meetings, please contact the cathedral office.
Community garden feeds families
Community Outreach 2022 highlights
Thanks to the wide participation of our Cathedral family, our Community Outreach Ministry once again made a lasting impact in the Richmond area in 2022. Among our activities last year, we:
- Stepped up to help students and teachers in February after William Fox Elementary School was destroyed by a massive fire. Outreach designated funds to replace teacher supplies and one Outreach member, Krista Loucas, worked with a contact at Scholastic books to donate 300 books to Fox and its teachers.
- Coordinated school supply drives to benefit teachers at John B. Cary Elementary School as well as our Cathedral members who are school teachers.
Worked with GOYA to initiate an “Adopt-a-Yiayia/Papou” program, in which 16 of our teens began a correspondence with 34 of homebound Cathedral members.
- Coordinated two emergency bucket drives to support the International Orthodox Christian Charities. The buckets are used by the IOCC to help families affected by natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods.
- Also coordinated two school supply drives for the IOCC, which distributes the supplies to children in need, as well as an “Apple Drive” for students at JB Cary and for Cathedral teachers.
- Conducted a “Serving for Charity” tennis tournament that netted $3,200 for IOCC. Since its inception, the Richmond tournament, usually held annually, has raised more than $16,000 for the IOCC.
- Coordinated the purchase and filling of 24 backpacks for Church World Services’ refugee program. The backpacks, destined for families and unaccompanied minors, included a blanket, nonperishable food items, basic hygiene equipment, travel and writing utensils and other supplies for refugees and asylum seekers.
Held a Red Cross blood drive on May 17 that attracted two dozen donors. Coordinated two Habitat for Humanity home builds. Cathedral volunteers included teens and young adults. Worked in conjunction with various Cathedral organizations to provide monthly meals to visitors at Reinhart House. Reinhart provides affordable housing and meals to out of town relatives of those in the intensive care unit of St. Mary’s Hospital.
- Sent ‘care packages’ with mementos and icons to our college student freshman who are away from home for the first time
- Coordinated efforts at a community garden at John B. Elementary School that produced an abundance of vegetables that went to the school’s families, to a Food Mission at a local Baptist Church and other organizations such as FeedMore.
- Assembled holiday gift bags for Cary Elementary teachers and donated 150 gift-wrapped books to distribute to Cary students this past Christmas.
- Sponsored the “Welcome Back Sunday” event in early October to raise awareness for the Church Ministries to our Parishioners
Many of these endeavors would not have been successful without the participation of our Cathedral family. Thank you. God bless, and all the best in 2023.
Community Outreach Ministry Vision
To grow closer to the broader Richmond community through acts of service as a Cathedral family and, by this, unite us to Christ.
To achieve this Vision, we will:
- Help build awareness of existing outreach activities at the Cathedral
- Be a resource to facilitate involvement and participation of Cathedral parishioners in outreach activities
- Serve as a sounding board for expanding the scope of volunteer outreach
- Sponsor community-wide activities (outside existing organizations) targeted for the local community
- Coordinate Cathedral response to national & international crisis/emergencies
Community Outreach Ministry Members:
Jim Katsaros, Chair / Parish Council Liaison
Tom Kazas, Co-Chair / Communications Director
Father Nicholas Bacalis, Sponsor / Inspiration
Key Ministry Champions:
Calypso Bletsos, College Student Ministry
John Bletsos, Companionship Ministry
Ruth Catherines, Philoptochos Liaison
Mark Chronis, IOCC Liaison: Emergency Supply Drives & Tennis Tournament / Fisher Guest House Meals
Gina Guinn, FeedMore / Food Drives
Elaine Hall, Clothing Supply Drives
Nikki Katsaros, ICU Comfort Kits
Katherine Boege (Bradley), Habitat for Humanity Programs
Krista Loucas, Elementary School Ministries / Micah Initiative
Greg Silvestri, Reinhart House Guest Meals / FeedMore & Food Drives
Martha Sotos, Medical Services Ministry, Blood Drives
If you would like more information contact the cathedral office.