Greece’s diaspora communities have been watching in horror as hundreds of fires have charred tens of thousands of acres of forests throughout Greece.
For many, being so far away and unable to respond or lend a helping hand to relief efforts was especially difficult.
Despite their distance, diaspora communities throughout the world have mobilized their respective communities and supporters in an unprecedented way.
In the United States, numerous organizations have launched disaster relief fundraisers to support Hellenic Red Cross and other organizations on the ground assisting victims.
The Order of AHEPA, with a long history and track record of providing hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian relief to Greece during its 99-year history, launched a disaster relief fund.
The launching of the fund comes only a few days after the organization concluded its successful convention in Athens where a check was presented for $160,000 to fulfill its commitment to the Evangelismos Hospital for a burn unit.
The burn unit that AHEPA sponsored was part of its response to the devastating fires in Mati during summer 2018 that left more than 100 people dead.
The Hellenic Initiative also launched a disaster relief fund and claimed that 100% of the proceeds it raised would go to support victims. The Facebook fundraiser has exceeded $200,000 in donations.
THI’s affiliate in Canada also launched its own campaign for Canadian donors.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America also launched a special fund. Archbishop Elpidophoros released a statement and video calling on all 500 parishes of the Archdiocese to pass a special collection tray this Sunday with proceeds benefiting victims of the fires.
The New York-based Greek America Foundation also launched a fundraising drive for future reforestation projects it will operate under its Greek America Corps volunteer program.
The program, which sends American and Canadian volunteers to Greece for summer service projects, has already partnered with a local environmental group called we4all that has extensive experience in tree-planting.
In a statement, the Greek America Foundation said it was committed to incorporating more reforestation activities into its volunteer programs slated for 2022.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia also launched a fundraiser via GoFundMe.
Several social media influencers popular in diaspora circles are also using their broad online reach to raise funds for victims and divert money raised to the Hellenic Red Cross and other charities.
Thanasi Papoulias, who runs “Excuse Me, Are You Greek?” (@excusemeareyougreek on Instagram), has partnered with the Greek charity Desmos to raise funds for victims.
Loukoumaki (@loukoumaki on Instagram) is donating 100% of proceeds from her new vinyl stickers to benefit the Hellenic Red Cross.
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