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Guest Viewpoints

Hellenic Relief Foundation – A Volunteer’s Personal Account

September 13, 2023
By George Koutrouvelis

The 2008 economic crisis sent shockwaves through Greece, leaving a significant portion of the population grappling with the harsh realities of social instability and outright poverty. Families who once thrived suddenly struggled to put food on the table and clothe their loved ones. So, in response to these problems, the Hellenic Relief Foundation (HRF) was established.

With the help of many volunteers, its goal has been to provide packages of clothes and food to Greek families in need. Now, many years after its creation, hundreds of needy men, women, and children still visit its headquarters in Athens for the periodic handout.

I was happy to be one of the volunteers during the summer distribution, and here is my personal experience.

Upon entering the premises, each visitor is welcomed by smiling people. Coming from all walks of life, they are united by their shared goal of lending a helping hand to those in their community who are struggling.

For many, HRF is a place of moral comfort, where judgment is replaced by understanding, and compassion is served alongside charity. The organization provides nutritional and household assistance packages and fosters an environment that enhances the dignity and worth of everyone who comes across their path.

While participating in HRF work, you are inspired by each volunteer’s dedication and unwavering commitment. Walking through the doors of HRF, you immediately feel the warm sense of community of the organization and its members.

At first glance, it is evident that this is more than just a job for everyone involved; it is a shared calling to make a difference in the lives of those facing immense adversity.

The impact of HRF extends beyond nourishment and warm clothing. Their efforts help breathe life into the hearts of those who had begun to lose hope amidst the challenges of their daily lives.

Together, the HRF volunteers hand out food packages filled with essential items like household necessities and canned food to the many needy families while seeing the relief and gratitude in their eyes.

As a young volunteer attending one of the distributions, I felt that I was able to somewhat contribute fresh perspectives and energy to the foundation’s work. I witnessed firsthand how empathy and even small acts of kindness could make a significant difference in the lives of those in need. Being part of the youth team showed me that compassion knows no age limits, and as the future generation, we have the potential to create positive change.

My time with HRF was a great experience that enriched my understanding of the needs of our society and left me with a significant sense of commitment to making a meaningful impact on the lives of others. The lessons learned during those days will stay with me forever.

 

George Koutrouvelis, an intern at The National Herald last year, is a rising junior at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, DC. A member of the National Honors Society, he currently works as the chief opinions editor for the Gonzaga Aquilian and also participates in Gonzaga’s Model UN and Debate teams.

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