The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association has launched an extensive program to support recovery efforts in Greece after massive July 23 wildfires ravaged parts of the Attica region and left hundreds homeless.
In an official statement from August 7, AHEPA announced “Boots on the Ground,” a project which will mobilize more than 800 members as well as continue to provide tens of thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid.
AHEPA has raised more than $150,000 to benefit fire victims and said its president is calling on all chapters to take action.
“President George Loucas is making a request to all our chapters to donate funds to assist in the recovery and repair for the destruction caused by the wildfires in the Attica region of Greece…” the statement said.
The association added that its president launched the new initiative after “several phone calls” both with the Greek government and U.S. agencies.
The worst fire in Europe since before 1900, the July blazes caused billions of dollars of damages in coastal towns outside of Athens and the death toll rose to 94 on Saturday when a 57-year-old woman died in the hospital due to injuries.
“Nothing can bring back those who were tragically lost, but the assistance will go a long way towards rebuilding their lives and community,” AHEPA said.
Greek Embassy officials said they are “very appreciative of the actions and hard work” AHEPA is doing to help Greece during a difficult time.
In addition to mobilizing hundreds of members and continuing fundraising, the association will follow its “Boots on the Ground” project with other major efforts.
Among those efforts will be AHEPA’s launch of “Project Unity Forum,” which encourages all Greek American organizations to provide humanitarian aid for relief efforts.
AHEPA said it will partner with NGO’s to request their involvement; the organization also reached out to partners such as the airline Emirates in preparation to fly burn victims to the United States for surgery, as well as to U.S.-based burn units to request their assistance in treating victims.
Furthermore, AHEPA will continue to maintain and support its ongoing program to train Greek firefighters and purchase needed parts for the brigade’s firetrucks.
The association said it will coordinate volunteer doctors’ trips to Greece, send immediate funds to the International Orthodox Christian Charities for wildfire cleanup efforts, and help to restore burned-down forest areas..
AHEPA has a known reputation of assisting Greece in times of need, including during World War II, when it raised more money by selling war bonds than any other organization.
The organization has 32 chapters active in Greece and said Loucas will travel there in September to visit fire-stricken areas.
Donations can be made online at www.ahepa.org/donate.
Checks may also be mailed directly to AHEPA Headquarters:
AHEPA Charitable Fund
c/o Greek Wildfires
1909 Q Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
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