Daughters of Penelope Evryklea Chapter 36 Kicks off the Year with the “Sunset Dinner” Fundraiser
The Daughters of Penelope “Evryklea”, Manhattan Chapter 36 held recently a charity benefit at Mykonos Blue in the Chelsea Flower District of Manhattan. The rooftop “Sunset Dinner” featured a three course dinnerand raffles worth over $8000 provided by several Greek artisans, artists, and designers who helped sponsor this event. Elsa Johnson, who has been involved with the Daughters of Penelope for the past two years, is the chapter’s current president and emphasized the importance of sisterhood, especially in helping women and children, among their worthy causes.
Last year they raised substantial funds for Paidiko Chorio, a childcare facility in Thessaloniki, Greece. This kickoff fundraiser was a benefit for the Penelope Houses in Alabama, which offer women of domestic violence assistance with shelter, counseling, advocacy and referrals to community resources and agencies throughout various counties in the state. Elsa enthusiastically expressed her commitment to Hellenic causes and women and children: “It means a lot when I am abroad to support Hellenism and especially female organizations. Women and children need a lot of assistance and help, and we are hoping to do that.”
Elsa also expressed much gratitude to the fraternal organization, The Manhattan Chapter 25 of the Order of the AHEPA: “They are always helpful and supportive of all of our endeavors and we work often together. Our main goal is charity and advocating about Hellenic issues, and having some fun while we are doing it. We are about sisterhood, about helping each other at the same time, and raising money for worthy causes.”
Also present was Board member of AHEPA Delphi Chapter #25 Ted Klingos who expressed his deep appreciation for the organization: “We are fortunate because two years ago, this particular chapter was reactivated, which is a wonderful thing. This is our sister chapter. I think the whole organization is wonderful. It has a tremendous history and network which is incredible. It’s very grassroots. It’s there to help. It’s philanthropic. It’s educational. We look to find ways to help each other. They have supported us in the past and we are here to support them tonight, and their new administration. They have a new president and we congratulate her, and look forward to working together.”
As Ted Klingos pointed out, the organization has a great history. The first chapter was founded by Alexandra Apostolides in her quest to create a woman’s organization with the support of her husband Dr. Emanuel Apostolides, who was a dedicated AHEPAN himself. Alexandra formed EOS Chapter #1 with 25 members on November 16, 1929 in San Francisco, and was elected the first Grand President of the organization in 1931. She had a vision for first-generation Greek-American women and drafted the basic principles of the organization. She wrote the Constitution and Bylaws of the organization as they exist today. Their mission is to promote Hellenism, education, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and family and individual excellence. With its Headquarters located in Washington D.C., the Daughters of Penelope have over 350 chapters in the United States, Canada, Greece, and Cyprus with sister chapters in Australia. They work closely with whole AHEPA family, which includes the Order of AHEPA, Daughters of Penelope, Maids of Athena and Sons of Pericles.
The reinstatement of Evryklea Manhattan Chapter 36 represents a significant move to highlight the organization’s good work here in New York City, a hub of cultural and economic activity, along with the chance to work with their AHEPA family here in New York to fulfilling their mission’s goals.
For Michele Mitrovich, a former corresponding secretary for the chapter and current member, the event held even greater importance to her because of the timing: “I’m really enjoying the amazing sisterhood and incredible support we all give to each other, and for such a great cause. We really try to make a difference. This is a wonderful event, especially during this time of blues, when people are experiencing this health crisis, I think it’s still important to stay connected and reach out, and bring people together in the best way that we can to keep everybody safe, but still doing something very important for a great cause.”
Also present to show his support was Supreme President of the Order of AHEPA George C. Horiates. He emphasized the twofold significance of the event as both a celebration and a remembrance unifying Greeks of the diaspora: “Here we are in midtown New York City, in the capital of the world, and it’s a very symbolic evening, because the Hellenes of the diaspora are kicking off what is a wonderful reawakening, coming out of the social distancing of Covid-19 since March. We are here with the Daughters of Penelope, a great group of sisterhood to raise money for wonderful causes. This year also has additional significance as we are opening up, because it is the bicentennial of the Greek nation. We will have our supreme convention in Athens. After that we will have the twentieth anniversary commemoration of 9/11 and a celebration of the re-opening of the St. Nicholas Shrine, and then finally, we will recognize the 100-year anniversary of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and the 100-year anniversary of the Order of AHEPA, so tonight, in many ways, this is a kick-off celebration, the opening act of what prompts us to be one of the truly golden ages in the Greek diaspora.”
The event ended with a raffle drawing that featured an array of unique and handcrafted products for the gift bags and and raffle prizes. In the true spirit of brotherhood, sisterhood, and the Greek diaspora, all items were provided by various Greek owned artists, artisans, and designers, such as handmade soaps, jewelry, beachwear, handbags, handwoven belts, robes and kaftans, sandals, silk scarves, pottery, and artwork.
The Sunset Dinner fundraiser marked a lovely evening of friends and supporters coming together to raise funds for women and children to help them seek shelter and gain their independence from abusive situations. I was truly touched by the gesture of the raffle winner George Horiates, who bequeathed his raffle prize to one of the guests at his table. I was the proud recipient of a hand painted aluminum ship inspired by ancient triremes.