United States

Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day Took Place October 23

October 24, 2021

NEW YORK – Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day took place October 23, beginning with a Virtual Event via Zoom, and followed by Good Deed Tours in cities around the world, including Athens, Greece; Boston, MA; Chicago/Deerfield, IL; Dallas, TX; Dubuque, IA; Gander, Newfoundland, Canada; Los Angeles, CA; New York; Pompano Beach, FL; Puerto Rico; and Washington, DC/Virginia among others across the globe.

During the Virtual Event, young people shared their ongoing efforts to make a difference in their communities while also showcasing their plans for the Good Deed Tour in their respective cities later in the day.

Loukoumi Foundation President Nick Katsoris welcomed everyone to the Virtual Event pointing out that each year 100,000 children participate in Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day and encouraged everyone to post photos of their Good Deed Tours to inspire and encourage other young people to also help make the world a better place.

Loukoumi Foundation President Nick Katsoris and Chef Maria Loi during the Virtual Event on Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day, October 23. (Photo: TNH Staff)

Virtual Event highlights included sending a kindness postcard into space with Blue Origin’s Club For The Future; helping the environment with ECOS; and the announcement, made by Meredith Kim and Constantine Katsoris, of the three finalists for the Loukoumi Foundation’s first grant for a baseball project with Pitch In For Baseball & Softball. The winner of the grant will be announced in February 2022.

Blue Origin Engine Testing Leader Michelle Christensen spoke about how a trip to Florida and the Kennedy Space Center when she was five years old inspired her interest in space and noted the importance of teamwork in her work on the New Shepard spacecraft. She noted that she was also part of the team that sent well-known actor William Shatner to space.

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of ECOS, spoke during the Virtual Event on Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day about how kids can help fight climate change. (Photo: TNH Staff)

Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of ECOS, spoke about the family-owned company founded in 1967 by her father, Eftychios (called Van) Vlahakis, an immigrant from Crete, who came to the U.S. at age 18, and studied chemistry at university. Vlahakis, who passed away in 2014, set out to make safe cleaning products without harsh chemicals. Vlahakis-Hanks noted that now ECOS has four manufacturing facilities in the U.S., in California, Washington, Illinois and New Jersey, and one in Athens, Greece. The facilities are Climate Positive, meaning they produce zero waste and also give back to the community to help fight climate change. She explained how the ECOS products are plant-based and eco-friendly, and encouraged young people to fight climate change by following a few easy steps, including planting a tree, saving electricity by shutting off the lights when they leave a room, donating their gently used toys instead of throwing them away, using less and recycling more, not wasting paper, and up-cycling a new creation like a planter from a plastic jug or a pencil holder from a tin can.

Participants also made cards for patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and wrote “Never Forget” Letters for families that lost loved ones on 9-11 in collaboration with the award-winning musical Come From Away. The letters were presented to 9/11 families at the 9/11 Memorial site during the Good Deed Tour in New York which also made a stop at the site of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine where Olga Pavlakos met the group and spoke about the historic church.

On Make A Difference with Loukoumi Day, at right, Loukoumi Kids Club Board member Beckett Potter and Blue Origin Engine Testing Leader Michelle Christensen spoke about the New Shepard spacecraft and sending actor William Shatner to space. (Photo: TNH Staff)

The Virtual Event also included a cooking class with celebrity Chef Maria Loi who cooked a delicious and nutritious pasta dish to be delivered to homeless shelters. Chef Loi prepared the food at the new Chef Maria Loi/Loukoumi Make A Difference Foundation Teaching Kitchen at the Floating Hospital in Long Island City, NY. The teaching kitchen, as Chef Loi noted, will change people’s lives as part of a program to help homeless families learn about and cook nutritious foods to feed their families.

Participants also put a smile on the faces of nursing home residents through good deeds in collaboration with the organization Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents whose Founder and CEO Ruby Kate Chitsey spoke during the Virtual Event about the ongoing efforts.

More information is available online: https://www.loukoumifoundation.org/.


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