General News

Greek-Owned Tom’s Coney Island Helps Feed the Needy at Christmas

NEW YORK – A major effort to feed those in need was held this Christmas in Coney Island, with the participation of local political representatives and charities – including AHEPA – and Greek-American family-owned restaurant Tom's Coney Island, 1229 Riegelmann Boardwalk (corner of Stillwell & Boardwalk), and its owner AHEPA Supreme Vice President Jimmy Kokotas. 

Kokotas spoke to The National Herald about the effort, noting the organizations undertook to support the project financially, while the restaurant’s employees donated their time on a volunteer basis in order to provide the necessities for a festive dinner for more than 250 families in need. 

"We contacted the schools in the area and asked each department for a list of 30-40 students from families with serious financial problems. We know that Coney Island is an area with many such families. On Christmas Eve, we shared over 250 pans with food, which had portions for 4-5 people. The food was frozen and they could use it, if they wanted, for their holiday dinner, either on the day or on Christmas Eve,” said Kokotas, who added that gifts were also distributed to the children. 

The organizations that financially supported the effort were: Alliance for Coney Island, AHEPA Chapter 200 based in Coney Island under the supervision of the Empire District of New York, the Luna Park, as well as City Councilman Mark Treyger, State Sen. Diane J. Savino, and State Assembly Member Mathylde Frontus. 

"It was a difficult year for us, but this effort was supported by the local politicians and we succeeded. The cost of this project was around $5,000. It's very small, but we did it from the heart. We want even more people to participate," concluded Kokotas. 


Some 41 years after it began in Minneapolis as ‘It's Greek to Me’ – and closed but reopened in 2020 when the coronavirus struck, the renamed restaurant, which added ‘E Parea’, has shut down permanently.

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