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Tackle Poverty with the Polamalus. . .

0000000001Join FOCUS Advisory Board member Theodora Polamalu and her husband Troy at an exclusive event to Tackle Poverty as we help working poor families and the homeless here in Pittsburgh!  November 21, 2013, at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 419 S. Dithridge St., Pittsburgh PA 15213.  Doors open at 7:00 PM • VIP Reception at 6:00 PM.  Food, delicious desserts and a cash bar.  Tickets are sold on a first-come-first-served basis.  $75 per ticket, VIP Reception (includes 1 ticket to main event) $1,000.00; 2 tickets for VIP Reception (includes 2 tickets to main event) $1,500.00.   Click here to purchase tickets online:  Tackle Poverty or call 412-279-1720.

Sharing the LoveSharing the Love. . .

Site volunteers Creola Williams and Lisa Coleman are passionate about FOCUS.  Miss Creola, a recent graduate of the Professional Development Academy, now works for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  When asked about FOCUS, Miss Creola said, “My experiences and training at FOCUS have made me a much stronger and confident woman.  If it wasn’t for FOCUS and the job assistance program, I wouldn’t have had a chance to work for the Penguins–it’s a great opportunity.”  Both volunteers spend many hours assembling BackPacks, distributing clothing, food, and love, as well as working on many other projects.  To see what Lisa has to say read “Quotable” in the Sidebar.

Food for Thought. . .

Churches at Work:  Fighting Hunger 4 Ways!

FIGHTING HUNGERFall Food Drives – Many thanks to the following churches who are conducting or have conducted a Fall Food Drive this year.  September and October – St. Nicholas Philoptochos; on-going monthly food purchase – Dormition of the Theotokos (Oakmont, PA); November – St. Mary’s UOC (McKees Rocks, PA), Holy Trinity GOYA; December – St. John the Baptist ACROD (Pittsburgh, PA).

Wednesday Community Dinner – It hasn’t been easy!  But, through dedication and commitment, Holy Cross, Holy Trinity, St. George (Bridgeville), St. George (Oakland), St. Nicholas (Oakland), St. Nicholas OCA (McKees Rocks)All Saints (Canonsburg), the Jokola Family and others have sustained a joyful community outreach–FOCUS+Pittsburgh’s Wednesday Community Dinner.  Especially heartwarming was the recent visit and  dinner prepared by Holy Cross’ Greek Orthodox Youth Association (GOYA).  In Pittsburgh, “we’re raising them right.”  Bag Lunch Program – There’s nothing like a good neighbor.  Even though St. Vladimir’s UOC (Ambridge) is in the next county (Beaver), church members continue to support the Clergy Brotherhood Bag Lunch Program and other FOCUS programs.  FOCUS is so glad you’re there.  If you’d like to help sponsor and assemble Brown Bag Lunches, ask your pastor how your church can participate and support this vital ministry.

Help us recruit community sponsors (parishes, individuals, businesses and others).  Pictured at right Paul Abernathy and Nicole Jokola discuss serving a Community Dinner.  For more information or to schedule a dinner provided by your organization, please email Nicole Jokola:


main-logo-interiorMcAuley awards $72,000 Grant. . .

FOCUS + Pittsburgh recently received a $72,000.00 Grant for 2013-2014 from McAuley Ministries to sustain and expand BackPack Programs for “food insecure” children in the Pittsburgh City Schools.  McAuley Ministries is named in honor of Catherine McAuley who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland in 1831. The ministry serves as a catalyst for change, committing resources and working collaboratively to promote healthy, safe, and vibrant communities.  Serving Pittsburgh Neighborhoods, the foundation continues the legacy of the Sisters of Mercy by focusing grant-making on the Pittsburgh neighborhoods traditionally served by the Sisters—the Hill McAuley 2District, Uptown, and West Oakland—and the sponsored ministries of the Sisters in southwestern Pennsylvania.  In 2012, FOCUS+Pittsburgh received a grant of $11,700 to expand the weekend backpack food program to students at Pittsburgh Miller PreK-5 African-Centered Academy and enhance the existing food program at Pittsburgh Weil PreK-5. By the end of the school year, the program reached almost 200 nutritionally at-risk children.

Project Lace-up. . .

All tied up & ready to go!Project Laceup 10

On September 7, 2013, FOCUS Volunteers (in the Blue T-shirts) gathered at a community-wide event at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Wylie Avenue.  Over 500 pairs of shoes and boxes and boxes of school supplies were distributed to community children.  Throughout the United States, FOCUS North America’s back-to-school initiatives brought love and hope, providing new shoes, backpacks, and school supplies to 193,000 children from homeless and working poor families in 28 cities.  Way to go FOCUS!

Put a Face on FOCUS. . .

Do you want to help FOCUS?  Become an Ambassador!  Ambassadors serve a unique role, providing an essential communication link between your church or organization.   They ensure that the pastor and congregation are informed about how your church can support programs, services, events, grants and other individual and corporate volunteer opportunities.  Meetings are held regularly.  Can’t attend a meeting.  You can dial in by phone and participate.  If you enjoy working with a team and getting to know others from the many Orthodox churches in Western Pennsylvania, please consider becoming one of the faces of FOCUS.  To learn how to become an Ambassador, please contact Jim

123adamstumehHealth Matters. . .

FOCUS+Pittsburgh Health Center will soon be a reality.  For the past two years, under the guidance of Drs. Rocco Adams and John Tumeh, dedicated physicians, health care workers, and other professionals have been working to create a center offering free medical and behavioral health care to those who have no health insurance and do not otherwise qualify for medical assistance.  Funding (FOCUS has received a $75,000.00 from UPMC and a $75,000 from The Pittsburgh Foundation) and accreditation are in place for the first year of operation.  Final preparations include completing renovations at FOCUS+Pittsburgh’s offices and hiring a part-time Clinic Administrator and Administrative Support Leader.  There are over 60,000 residents in Allegheny County (140,000 including surrounding counties) who qualify for these medical services. Catholic Charities Free Health Care Center is the only other such clinic in Allegheny County and sees approximately 7,000 qualifying patients.  The remainder have no alternative for medical care, continuing to fall through the cracks.

Acknowledgments:  Katrina Yannoulis-Varotsis, Photographs; Orthodox Detroit Outreach, Bible Verse Graphic; McAuley Ministries, Artwork.  Underwriter 25/100 Campaign:   Printscape


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