The Hellenic Initiative Canada (THI Canada) through a generous donation from the Eleni and Vasileios Ifandis Charitable Foundation supports the work of the Giannitsa Soup Kitchen providing daily meals to children in need with a grant of $25,000 CAD. Giannitsa, a city of 40,000 in Northern Greece is proud of its community of volunteers inspired by Fr. Spyridis, the tireless champion of those in need.
Volunteers prepare meals and deliver them daily; they run the “community supermarket”, providing goods and food for 150 families. They provide lessons in music, dance, photography, first aid, hold classes to prepare students to gain acceptance at the university; and offer consultations and medications for free.
The Giannitsa Soup kitchen is a special caring facility efficiently run by Fr. Spyridis and his team of volunteers. Maria Petala, has been volunteering at the soup kitchen for more than 10 years and she feels blessed for being able to help in this way.
People with children that have no income or an income of less than 5,000 euros can register to receive daily meals. The community centre has classrooms and facilities to accommodate learning for 400 children supported by 80 volunteer teachers.
People that cannot afford healthcare or medicine can register at the medical and pharmaceutical centre to receive medical care from volunteer doctors. Currently there are 200 people registered for free healthcare.
The “community supermarket” operates twice a week in order to assist 150 families that have registered to receive help. People donate goods and food to the “market” and then everything is redistributed to those in need. The need of each family is assessed separately, according to their income and the number of family members, and a monthly voucher is provided.
Volunteer English teacher, Ms. Dorcas Kirigo, who moved to Giannitsa in 2004, originally from Kenya stated: “People here are very good. They helped me and welcomed me with so much love and when you receive this love, you also want to give it back, so this is why I decided to volunteer here. The work that is being done here is extremely important because the people need it. The classes for the students help change their futures. ….the crisis has brought the community together. People opened their hearts and they are giving whatever they have.”
Ms. Eleni Ifandis, THI Canada’s benefactor, living most of her adult life in Toronto, has never forgotten the people back in Greece, the children that have nothing for Christmas, and the people now living in poverty. “I only wish more people would care to do more to help feed children in Greece” said Ms. Ifandis.
Fr. Spyridis and his team of volunteers, through their charitable work enable people in need to care for their families and cover their essential needs while maintaining their dignity.
The Hellenic Initiative Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to alleviate poverty in Greece by providing funds to trusted organizations to deliver food, health care and other related services to those in need.