Photo from the 2019 summer camp organized by Sf Tatiana Association, made possible by our parishioners.
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,” goes an old saying.
By God’s mercy, the Holy Cross Orthodox Church from San Jose has been able to help the poor and destitutes for ten years. But it did not stop at giving ‘fish’. Our church helped and - later- partnered with many Romanian nonprofit organizations which educate, provide educational supplies, build houses for and offer health care to impoverished children, adults and elders.
The charitable activities of our church focused particularly on Romania, not only because that is the native country of many parishioners, but also because, long after the fall of communism, Romania’s poverty rate was the highest in the EU.
Although the economy has been improving, the situation of many children and old people continues to deteriorate. Many families have disintegrated. One, or both parents, had to seek work abroad, leaving behind their little ones. Kids and grandparents alike suffer from loneliness, depression, and poverty.
Romania registers one of the highest school dropout rates in Europe, 18% of youth leaving the high school. The situation in rural areas is even worse. One out of two children does not continue his studies. One quarter of children drop out the school due to poverty.
Thus, our church parishioners stepped in to help.
First, through public collections, we supported the “Friends of St. John Maximovici” association from Valenii de Munte, who is building new homes for the poors. We helped the “Assumption of the Holy Mother of God” monastery, who is overseeing not only a dorm for children at risk, but also a hospital located in Petru Voda. Then, we also aided the organization "Sfanta Iustina" in its mission to educate orphan girls.
Second, since 2017, we formally partnered with four other major organizations:
- Centrul de zi Sf. Tatiana from Satu Mare,
- Asociatia Pro-Vita from Valenii de Munte,
- Asociatia Glasul Vietii from Iasi, and
- Manastirea Bic from Salaj.
Read below for details!
Our parishioners donated generously to them. With kindness and love, these organizations are helping in turn, each year, thousands of destitute people.
For example, Centrul de zi Sf. Tatiana from Satu Mare - depicted in the photo above - converted a dilapidated water heating building (centrala termica), in an educational center for approximately 100 poor and abandoned children. It provides tutoring and counseling, trips, sports activities, as well as food, clothes, shoes and school supplies for children, and sometimes their parents, too.
Our church supported the Center to organize the 2019 summer camp. The program was free of charge, and provided a much needed break for the little ones.
Our parishioners also provided funds for the organization to furnish a much needed multi-use room, where the children gather for after-school programs, counseling, and various other educational programs, such as online safety, street safety, human trafficking prevention. Please see this short heart-warming TV documentary about Sf. Tatiana Center children.
Our church also helped the orphans in the care of Pro Vita association from Valea Plopului - depicted above.
Pro Vita created an ophanage community which houses about 400 abandoned and orphaned children, young mothers, elders. They help survive the abandoned, the abused, the destituted and the homeless—regardless of age—and help them find or rediscover their path in life. They offer support, a home, and, above all, the feeling of belonging to a family, for a household is a most important thing to have. Please see this documentary for more information on the organization.
Children helped by Glasul Vietii Association from Iasi.
“Glasul Vietii” (The Voice of Life”) Association established in Iasi is another example of our generous giving. Its mission is to provide social services to disadvantaged poor mothers, children, and families who have no other means to support themselves in order to avoid marginalization, social exclusion, school abandonment and, in particular, child abandonment.
The Association supports many social projects, and assists more than 3000 young mothers, children, and orphans every year. It builds houses built to host orphans and poor families. At the beginning of each academic year, the association offers 1000+ backpacks for incoming poor students, along with new shoes, cloths, and hygiene products. The association also provides tutoring help and numerous summer camps for at-risk children.
Holy Cross church decided to support the association in their work with poor students, as well as single mothers who would otherwise be at risk of abandoning their children. Iasi is the Romanian city with the largest number of abandoned babies.
Finally, our church provided support to Bic Monastery from Salaj, for its elderly care home and kindergarten for poor kids.
We supported the monastery to purchase much needed food, cloths for these people, as well as cover their electricity and heating expenses.
These projects, albeit life-changing for so many, are a small drop of water in the huge sea of need.
Finding the financial resources for providing the necessary support thousands of people that are asking the help of these organizations is extremely difficult, if not impossible. We continue being extremely selective in choosing organizations that use their proceeds to directly make a difference in the lives of the people they help and show them ‘how to catch fish’. This way, we not only aspire to do merciful acts, but are also able to see the fruits of labor and sacrifice.
PLEASE HELP THESE PROGRAMS GROW!