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General News

Elias Manolis Continues His Family’s Tradition for Thanksgiving Despite Difficulties

November 22, 2022

BOSTON – For 29 years the Manolis Family of Dracut, MA, has provided the traditional turkey and all the ingredients for the preparation of a decent warm meal for schools, institutions, senior citizens’ homes, and thousands of people in need of various ages and of every nationality, religion, race, and educational level. The endeavor that enables people to enjoy a festive dinner for Thanksgiving Day faces difficulties due to shortages of turkeys. Last year they distributed more than 2,000 baskets of Turkey with all the trimmings but this year things are different.

Elias Manolis, a young successful businessman and the proud son of Nikos and Voula Manolis in an interview with The National Herald he said that, “this is one of the most challenging holiday seasons we have had as an organization. The avian flu, which has wiped out the turkey business, forced the cancellation of truckloads of turkeys and dry goods.”

Elias explained that, “due to the shortfall, every significant market and distributor has rejected or canceled our bulk orders. The cost of everything has increased due to record inflation.” He also said, “many advised us to simply postpone or cancel until next year. However, as I reflect on our project over the last 28 years, I can say that I never gave that idea any thought. I was adamant. As a Greek-American, I treasure tradition and am committed to upholding it. Thanksgiving dinner wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t do everything we can to contribute to our community.”

Elias Manolis continues the philanthropic mission of his parents for Thanksgiving. He oversees the distribution of turkeys and the ingredients for the Thanksgiving dinners. (Photo: The Manolis Family Foundation)

Elias also said that, “at the last minute we were able to work out a deal with a supplier to be able to buy 600 turkeys after weeks of having our orders cancelled. We will be able to help over 2000 people at local food shelters, senior centers – disabled and homeless people – and local Greek organizations, such as the Maliotis Center, which is going to prepare Thanksgiving meals for the students of Hellenic College and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, as well Greek students from the various universities of the Boston area.”

From the distribution efforts at the parking lot at the Manolis Restaurant in Dracut, MA. (Photo: The Manolis Family Foundation)

As is the case every year, on Monday, November 21 tens of volunteers gathered at the parking lot of the Manolis’ restaurant in Dracut and made the deliveries.

Elias said that “the hardship we faced this Thanksgiving has only motivated us to do more, and we are planning on feeding over 2,000 people this Christmas season and next year being our 30th anniversary we plan on feeding over 10,000 people for Thanksgiving.”

Asked how he feels about continuing the tradition he said, “we are carrying on my father’s tradition of providing Thanksgiving dinner to families in need for the 29th consecutive year. The concept was conceived 29 years ago when my father, a prosperous businessman, thought back on his upbringing and the food insecurity of his family. He pledged that he would achieve prosperity so that he could give back to his community, particularly to families who were food insecure around the holidays.”

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