ASTORIA – With plenty of food, festive spirits, and good music, the Greek American Homeowners Association again hosted, for the 29th time, a hugely successful Thanksgiving feast. Volunteers were at their posts at the Association’s 31st Street headquarters early on Thanksgiving morning. People filled the space well before noon, the original time the event was scheduled to begin.
Under the supervision of Elpida Alexiou, turkeys were delivered to homes of fellow citizens who were unable to prepare the traditional Thanksgiving meal or who simply could not make it to the Association on Thursday.
At the same time, the offices of the Association, which were transformed into a free all-you-can-eat restaurant on Thanksgiving day, saw a plethora of people, those coming to enjoy the meal on the premises as well as those stopping by to take food home for their families.
Greek American Homeowners Association President George Kitsios, said in an interview with The National Herald that at least 1,000 turkeys were donated for the charitable event. He added that he estimated over 2500 people either passed through the offices to take meals home with them or actually stayed and enjoyed the meal there.
“It is important to mention that all the restaurants in our area support us. We have the support of the public and our door is always open to everyone. Everyone is welcome, not just Greeks. I emphasize this point because this openness is part of our effort to make everyone feel the same and to come closer together as a community,” Mr. Kitsios said.
The person in charge of organizing the meal was the former president of the Association, George Alexiou, while the gathering of food was coordinated by Mike Arapis. However, the success of the event is attributed to everyone on the Board of Directors and every single member of the Association.
“The Association’s initiative is a blessing from God.”
As is the case every year, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Greek-American elected officials of Queens, New York State Senator Michael Gianaris, Assemblymember Aravella Simotas and New York City Council Member Costa Constantinides, as well as the consular authorities, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras and Consul Lana Zochiou, also passed by the offices of the Homeowners Association.
“When I come here, it’s like I’m with my family. Right after, I always go for lunch with my parents. However, we in the omogenia are indeed family and it is very important that the Archbishop Demetrios be with us,” said Senator Gianaris.
Assemblymember Aravella Simotas, thanked the Association for their initiative and noted that it was “a message to our children about how to celebrate Thanksgiving.”
Consul General Koutras praised the work of the Association’s leaders in a celebration that has “significant symbolism” in the United States.
“The Greek-American Homeowners Association sends a message of solidarity and generosity. With the help of God, I hope we are all here again next year. Today is an important holiday with significant symbolism,” said Koutras.
In closing, Archbishop Demetrios gave a brief greeting and congratulated the organizers.
“The present meal is not just a social contribution, but it is also God’s blessing. It is an act of warmth for the people who want to enjoy this day, but do not have what we take for granted. Let us always thank God, not just on Thanksgiving, but every day and every minute,” said Archbishop Demetrios.
The music of Serafeim Lazos and Tasos Papaioannou gave the event an extra festive atmosphere.
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