At a distribution of CWS School Kits in the Republic of Georgia, our partner, International Orthodox Christian Charities, visited a primary school where they saw first-hand the joy of the CWS Kits and Blankets program. As they distributed the kits, they saw the children excitedly admire their new bags and beautiful school supplies. All of a sudden, they heard a tiny voice asking, “Will I have to share this with my brother?” The voice belonged to a small first-grade girl who was adamant about making sure the backpack was for her. “She made a statement that she was not sharing the school kit with anyone because she loved it so much,” said Biljana Mihajlović, IOCC’s Manager of Europe Programs and Gifts-in-Kind / Program Compliance Officer.
Since 2005, CWS has been partnering with IOCC to bring CWS Kits to children like this little girl through their programs around the world. By including the kits as an “added value” to existing programs, IOCC is able to meet the needs of vulnerable populations while providing high-quality items that would otherwise be difficult for these communities to access. Rebecca Loumiotis, IOCC’s Communications Manager, explains, “We are always looking for ways to help. Our mission is to be there when folks need it.”
The Kits program is also a great way for IOCC’s volunteers here in the US to get involved with the global programs. “It’s relatively simple for everyone to get involved,” explains Biljana, who manages shipments to IOCC programs overseas. Rebecca, who has worked closely with volunteers, added, “I know that people really love this program. They understand that the things they are touching will be in the hands of someone that needs them.”
Currently, a shipment of CWS Kits and Blankets is ready to be sent to IOCC programs in Romania and Moldova to meet the needs of Ukrainian refugees in the area. IOCC also focuses on meeting the needs of local residents in need by making sure they also receive access to the supplies. Through this approach, anyone who needs it can receive the gift of a CWS Kit or Blanket.
Whether it’s a young girl in rural Georgia or a family in Kentucky, CWS Kits and Blankets are spreading joy around the world. We are proud of and grateful for our partnerships with organizations like IOCC that allow this work to spread far and wide.