Since IWOG was established over 60 years ago, in 1949, our members have provided philanthropic support for thousands of people in crisis starting with informal nursing assistance for wartime orphans and providing visits and gifts to destitute elderly people.
Over the years we have changed to meet the needs of the time. This has mostly meant providing essential equipment and other items for Greek charities and a small number of grants for Greek students.
In the past few years it has become more difficult to raise monies at a time when more is needed! Fortunately our Christmas Bazaar, Easter Event, June Luncheon and raffles remain popular. Members come up with bright ideas to raise funds; Christa runs a nearly-new rack sale in November; Melissa organises outings for members and their friends; others help with our book table. We welcome your ideas and any voluntary time you can give however little this might be.
More recently our philanthropic work has involved a small emergency network to help members during a brief crisis. Also, we are now sponsors of the International Food Festival held in early June. We collect unwanted clothing and bedding which are donated to refugees and others in need. Some gallantly prepare and deliver meals for homeless women in collaboration with The Salvation Army who also rely on a few IWOG members to help prostitutes find proper employment.
Of course, charity begins at home and many members volunteer their time to help our organization. This includes becoming a committee member and for a select few, Board members. Charlotte (our Chairwoman) has organised our Facebook page and she and Natasha are maintaining it. Samantha has designed our colourful website and Reba is helping to update it.
This all sounds like hard work, and at times it is, but there is a lot of team spirit and members rally round to help each other. Not all members get involved actively with welfare issues but for those who do good friendships are made and at the same time we are able to contribute to the local community.
We are a non-profit organisation, so any help we manage to give to those in need in the community is through the kindness of our souls. Our capacity to help is therefore limited, but we do try our very best.
If you know someone who is in desperate need of help in Thessaloniki and have recognised a genuine cause, you can contact us and we will try our best to find a willing member to find time to give some temporary help during a crisis.