“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 was able to help for many years the poorest of the poorest - of any ethnical, social or religious background. Our church helped and - recently - partnered with Romanian nonprofit organizations who educate, provide food, build houses for and offer support and health care to impoverished children and elders.
Our Board carefully reviews the applications from organizations which further our mission. We execute an agreement specifying the use of funds, monitor their use and require a report on how the funds were spent.
The charitable activities of our church focused particularly on Romania, not only because it 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. 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.
Initially, through public collections, we supported organizations such as “Friends of St. John Maximovici” association from Valenii de Munte, who is building new homes for the poors. We helped the “Inaltarea Maicii Domnului” nuns, who are 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.
Our past campaigns
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
- St. Pantelimon Center, Manastirea Bic.
Our parishioners donated generously to them. With kindness and love, these organizations are helping in turn, each year, thousands of destitute people.
Abandoned and poor children in the care of Sf. Tatiana organization, helped by our parish
“For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you have me drink, I was naked and you clothed me.” (Matthew 25:35)
For example, Centrul de zi Sf. Tatiana from Satu Mare - depicted above and below - 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.
Photo above: 2019 summer camp organized by Sf Tatiana Association, made possible by our parishioners.
Our church also helped the orphans in the care of Pro Vita association from Valea Plopului - depicted below.
Pro Vita created an ophanage community which houses about 400 abandoned and orphaned children, young mothers and 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 about the organization.
Andrei, the little 8 year old boy in a blue jacket depicted below, whom you can also see in this video, was abandoned in Sf. Pantelimon Center affiliated with Bic Monastery, when he was only 4 month old.
You can learn about here about Bic Monastery from Salaj, which is led by Mother Superior Marina Lupău, the spiritual child of Father Arsenie Boca. It hosts a school for about 20 children, poor or who have been abandoned by their parents - when they were as young as 3 days old. It also hosts an eldery care home.
In 2019, Bay Area Romanians provided the monastery with much needed funds for Andrei, elderly care home and school for poor kids. We supported the center to purchase much needed food, as well as cover their electricity and heating expenses. Our funds were also used to replace the old broken windows of the kindergarten classrooms.
“He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none.” Luke 3:10-11
In March, 2020, because of Covid19, no visitors or pilgrims were allowed to go the monastery anymore. Their donations were the very source of funding for the nuns, the elders and the kids. As a result, the situation became dire. The nuns had no money for water and electricity bills, they were not able to afford to pay the salaries of the few people taking care of elders. In fact, they reported they didn't even have enough funds to purchase pampers for the disabled elders.
Thus, two months after - thanks to many generous and amazing parisheners and Bay Area friends - we were able to provide the elders and children with emergency help.
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 - of all religious and ethnicies. It builds houses for orphans and poor families. At the beginning of each academic year, the association offers 1000+ backpacks for incoming poor students, along with new shoes, clothing, 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.
These projects, albeit life-changing for so many, are a small drop of water in the huge sea of need. Finding resources to help social centers assisting thousands of people is extremely difficult, if not impossible. We continue being extremely selective in choosing organizations that use their proceeds to 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.
WE COUNT ON, AND ARE MOST GRATEFUL FOR, YOUR CONTINUING GENEROSITY TO HELP THESE PEOPLE!
Please send your donation with the memo: "Romania charitable program"