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Left to right: Ava Tsapatsaris, Chef Maria Loi, and Loukoumi Foundation President Nick Katsoris on Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day. (Photo: TNH Staff)
NEW YORK – Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day took place on October 29, virtually and in locations around the world. Loukoumi Foundation President Nick Katsoris gave the welcoming remarks from the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens in Long Island City along with longtime Loukoumi “kid” Ava Tsapatsaris, who began participating as a child and is now a freshman at New York University.
Katsoris pointed out that teams in 22 cities around the world would be participating in Loukoumi Day and the Foundation works with 100,000 children all around the world.
A video presentation included kids sharing their good deeds with various efforts and charities from South Florida; Athens, Greece; Hellenic Academy in Deerfield, Chicago, IL; Gander, Newfoundland, Canada; and Puerto Rico, among many other locations.
An art project was demonstrated by 12-year-old Arsh Pal from Dubuque, Iowa, who made a get well card for youngsters at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In 2015, groups began collecting $1 donations for St. Jude along with their cards. The Loukoumi Foundation has now pledged to raise $150,000 and encourage thousands of kids to participate in making cards and collecting money to help fund The Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Treatment Room at St. Jude which was named in October 2019.
Arsh noted that he also raised $1,000 for St. Jude through selling his artwork. Participants can mail their cards to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Attn: NMO (Non-Monetary Operations) 501 St. Jude Place Memphis, TN 38105. More information is available online: https://bit.ly/3zprarO.
ECOS President and CEO Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks spoke about her company’s partnership with Loukoumi Foundation: “we share the mission of teaching children valuable lessons about everything from preserving our environment to discovering that doing good for others is the secret to happiness.”
She continued: “Our mission at ECOS for 55 years has been to create safer products and our good deed this month is that for every bottle of ECOS laundry detergent consumers purchase in the month of September and October we will donate $1 to the American Cancer Society, up to $75,000. This is so very important to me because my own mother passed away from breast cancer in 2007 and I know so many families are touched by this disease and we must work together to end it.”
“We’re also going to be giving a hypoallergenic hand soap to the Loukoumi kids to give out at the homeless shelter and I’m going to ask each one of you to do something for me on social- number one, do a good deed for the planet, number two, take a photo of yourself doing that good deed, and number three, share on social and tag @LoukoumiFoundation and @ECOSCleans,” Vlahakis-Hanks said.
From Arkansas, Ruby Kate Chitsey, Founder and CEO, of Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents, which fulfills wishes of nursing home residents, encouraged youngsters to design a Post-It for a resident in a nursing home.
Chef Maria Loi, who noted that she was moved to tears by the videos of children sharing their good deeds, shared her tips for healthy living, noting that everyone should drink two spoons a day of olive oil and use heart-healthy olive oil every day for cooking. Katsoris also mentioned The Chef Maria Loi/Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Teaching Kitchen at The Floating Hospital which hosts families with hands-on education and tools for managing chronic illnesses, maintaining nutritious diets, and developing social and practical life skills.
The Floating Hospital’s Candy Cane Lane effort was also announced in a moving video. Those who would like to participate can click here: https://amzn.to/3DJ4FAn.
Mr. Met also appeared on the virtual event, as Katsoris spoke about the efforts with the New York Mets Food Drive and the River Fund to help the homeless.
Genevieve Piturro, Pajama Program Founder, a successful television marketing executive, over 20 years ago in New York City decided to read to homeless children at a shelter and it broke her heart seeing that they slept in their clothes, so she began bringing pajamas to the shelters. A young girl who not take them and asked “What are pajamas?” Piturro noted that since that time, as more and more people heard about it and wanted to donate, the Pajama Program, celebrating 22 years this year, has grown to 42 chapters across the United States and has given over 7 million pajamas and books to children. “It’s not the power of one that changes things, it’s the power of one-another that moves mountains and people,” Piturro said.
Katsoris noted that each time he hears Piturro’s story, the more inspiring it is. He thanked everyone for participating, including Mr. Met and the Mets Foundation for all they do and then invited Loukoumi and all the youngsters present to take a commemorative photo to conclude the virtual event before they head out to do their in-person good deeds for the day.
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