DRACUT, MA – More than 10,000 people of various ages and of every nationality, religion, race, and various other demographics enjoyed a festive Thanksgiving meal thanks to Nicholas and Voula Manolis and their sons, Elias and Efthimios.
On November 25, about 400 volunteers brought joy and smiles to the faces of 2,000 families by delivering to schools, institutions, and homes the traditional turkey with all the ingredients for the preparation of descent meal. For the 20th consecutive year, Nick Manolis, owner of the Dracut House of Pizza & Seafood Restaurant in Dracut, MA shared the blessings that God has bestowed upon him and his family with those in need.
Manolis has named this expression of love and philanthropy “Project Helping Hands,” and it he along with his wife and two sons, organized it.
V. Rev. Leonard Faris, presiding priest of St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in Lowell, offered the prayer and blessed the volunteers before they began their deliveries.
Faris told TNH that “we are very proud of Nick Manolis and his family, who started with 50 turkeys 20 years ago and today they are going to distribute 2,000.” Faris also said that “Mr. Manolis is very good to our church, we love him, we support him, and we pray to God enrich him with His blessings.”
The first year, they started with 30 turkeys. Nicholas and Voula Manolis even cooked the turkeys themselves, and delivered them to families in need, because they did not have an oven in their homes to cook the turkeys.
Until a few years ago, the Manolis Family provided everything on their own. Five years ago, they established the Manolis Family Foundation in order to be able to accept tax-deductible donations.
Businessmen, bankers, police officers, CEOs, computer specialists, and volunteers from all walks of life donated their time and made the deliveries to schools, food pantries, churches, veteran centers, and, of course, homes. Everything is done in a strictly organized and confidential manner.
Manolis is a local successful Greek-American businessman and knows how to be thankful and to give to those in need. He told TNH “when I first came from Greece in 1966 with my parents and my sister, we did not have anything. I know what it is not to have even the most basic things in life. I remember how difficult it was for me to see my friends buying lunch, but I couldn’t afford it.”
Manolis’ father, Efthimios, 92, had passed away the evening before, but Manolis did not even think about postponing the distribution. “This is the best way to honor his memory. He is going to be happy now that he went to meet my mother. Both of them taught me about humanity and giving.”