The Hellenic Relief Foundation: Helping Greek Families to Overcome the Crisis
This past July the Hellenic Relief Foundation distributed seventy Aid Packages to families and individuals in Gytheio, a town close to Sparta, Greece. The distribution took place at the CulturalCenter under the guidance of volunteers of the foundation – head volunteer Mrs Maria Siourdi – and with the cooperation of the Christian Association of Women in Gytheio. Each package contained approximately twenty kilos of food items. Various sponsors in Greece donated additional clothing and shoes that were also given to adults and children. Members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation Tassos Philippakos and Stelios Taketzis participated in the process. A visit to the Nursing Home ‘Agios Panteleimon’ took place after the initial distribution with food Items and other necessities offered to residents there.
The Hellenic Relief Foundation continues its mission that started in January 2012, following an initiative by individuals who thought more that words were necessary in order to alleviate the immediate needs of people facing one of the worst crises in Modern Greek history. Money is collected in the United States with which food items and other necessities are purchased in Greece and distributed to families that are struggling to meet basic living needs. Representatives of the Foundation travel to Greece at their personal expense to deliver packaged food supplies to families. The food is purchased locally, from Greek producers. Packaging and distribution is done by volunteers and the recipients are identified through ongoing communication with persons and organizations presently engaged in charitable activities there.
In the month of July, in addition to the Gytheio distribution, 220 aid packages were delivered in Athens, Thessaloniki, Perama, Kalivia, and Spetses. An additional 720 packages were also allotted to the same areas in the months of May and June. In total, since this effort started, approximately 13,000 families and individuals have shared the 140 tons of food that has been purchased through the generosity of the Greek American community that has donated so far $205,000.
Stelios Taketzis, press liaison for the organization, stated that “the consolidation of the crisis in Greece and the appearance of an upward economic trend in some areas may camouflage the reality that there continues to be a serious need for aid. Unemployment is still at the highest level, many have used up any reserves they may have had and more and more people find themselves unable to cover their basic needs. According to new data released by ELSTAT (Hellenic Statistic Organization) 3,795,100 individuals live on the verge of poverty. It is imperative that we continue to give our hand to those in need and to remember that any aid from the Greek American community is that of family to family and not a hand out. Anyone can some day find himself in a difficult situation. That is why dignity in the face of crisis is imperative.”
The HELLENIC RELIEF FOUNDATION, INC. is an independent entity and operates according to the laws of the State of New York. It is managed by a Board of Directors, who are members of the Hellenic-American community and do not represent the interests of any other organizations or institutions. The work of the Foundation is the product of volunteer effort, thus assuring that all contributions will be entirely devoted to its mission of relief. For additional information and on ways to help their website is hellenicrelief.org