DRACUT, MA – The Salvation Army’s Lowell Citadel division honored Dracut, MA businessman and philanthropist Nick Manolis a businessman and philanthropist at an event attended by more than 250 guests, held at Lenzi’s banquet hall in Dracut.
Cathy Richardson of Dracut’s Selectmen board praised Manolis, his wife, Voula, and their two sons, Elias and Tim, for the philanthropic work they have done for over 20 years. Major Everett Henry also lauded the Manolis Family.
Over 20 years ago, the Manolises began distributing free Thanksgiving dinners to those in need. They began with 30 turkeys the first year, cooking and delivering the turkeys personally. In fact, the Manolis Family continued to provide everything on their own until five years ago, when they established the Manolis Family Foundation in order to be able to accept tax-deductible donations.
The past November about 400 volunteers brought joy and smiles to the faces of 2,000 families by delivering to schools, institutions, and homes the traditional turkey with all the fixings for the preparation of a substantial meal.
Manolis has named this expression of love and philanthropy “Project Helping Hands.”
Manolis knows how to be thankful and to give to those in need. He told the guests at the dinner in his honor that “when I first came from Greece in 1966 with my parents and my sister, we did not have anything. I know what it is not to have even the most basic things in life. I remember how difficult it was for me to see my friends buying lunch, but I couldn’t afford it. I went to school to pick up my lunch and they told me to put it down because I didn’t have 25 cents to pay for it. They did the same thing with the ice cream because I didn’t have 10 cents, and at that moment I knew that I never wanted to see another child go hungry for lack of money. No matter how little we had, my parents always taught me to give to those less fortunate. My mother would always say to me ‘you give with one hand and God will give with two.’”
In his keynote speech at the dinner, Manolis said “I was privileged to come to the greatest country in the world arriving here from Greece as a child and growing up in the Acre section of Lowell. I never dreamed that I would be speaking to some of the great people that make up the Salvation Army.