ASTORIA – Carnival of Love Foundation (COLF) held its Christmas in Candyland party at Central Bar & Lounge in Astoria on December 13. Donations raised will support the opening of a Healing Arts Community Center for families living with autism and special needs.
Among those present were COLF Co-founder/Executive Director Dennisia Slabakis, COLF Parent Outreach Director Youla Efthimiou, Co-founder Maria Sakellis Giannikouros, Anastasia Theofanis, Stefano Nyktas, George Zapantis, COLF supporters, family, friends, and members of the community
Olympia Mylonas who wrote the music and lyrics for the Carnival of Love song was also in attendance at the event.
Slabakis spoke to The National Herald at the event, noting that the Foundation was returning home at Central, where the first fundraiser was held ten years ago, and was grateful to have a safe space for such events in the community. After a few years with events held at different venues, “It’s nice to come back where we started,” she told TNH.
The attendees enjoyed savory appetizers from Zenon Taverna and delicious sweets and desserts in the colorful Candyland theme. A wide variety of items were up for raffle including spa visits and other gifts. The event also offered shopping opportunities at booths displaying items including jewelry, handbags, accessories, and Luv Michael Granola which is a new line of gluten-free and nut-free granola by a company that trains, educates, and employs people with Autism.
Attendees lined up to purchase raffle tickets at the Carnival of Love Foundation Christmas in Candyland. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
Luv Michael Granola is available in the fifteen Manhattan Fresh & Co. locations. Dr. Lisa Liberatore and Dr. Dimitri Kessaris helped create the food based business so that their son, Michael, and others with Autism would not be a burden on society or limited in their potential to lead happy and productive lives. They started Luv Michael under the parent company, Indigo Life, which represents a commitment for doing even more for the Autistic population.
COLF’s mission is to enhance the mind, body and spirit of children and families affected by autism and special needs, through access to alternative therapies, culturally-minded programs and services, educational resources, and unique healing experiences.
Through hosting educational workshops, community support programs for parents and siblings, and family recreational activities, COLF has made a tremendous impact in the lives of many members of the community. The need for support for this worthy cause continues and those interested in helping the foundation achieve its goals can donate online.
Carnival of Love Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, founded in 2008. More information about the Carnival of Love Foundation is available at: www.carnivaloflove.org.
Carnival of Love Foundation’s Christmas in Candyland was held at Central. Photo by Eleni Sakellis