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The Society of Kastorians “Omonia” of New York held its Taverna Night on September 30 with food, live music and dancing for a good cause. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
WHITESTONE, NY – In a festive atmosphere, the Society of Kastorians “Omonia” of New York hosted its Taverna Night at their headquarters in Whitestone on September 30 to raise funds to purchase an ambulance for the Red Cross of Kastoria.
The event for a great cause was held in-person once again after the pandemic, continuing the Society’s tradition of giving back while bringing together the members of the Society, family, and friends to enjoy delicious food, live Greek music and dancing. The talented musicians performing Greek favorites were Vangelis Stroumbakis and Panagiotis Stroumbakis from Chios.
Society of Kastorians President Demos Siokis spoke with The National Herald at the event, noting that the much-needed ambulance will definitely help save lives in Kastoria. “This is an effort of the Society the last three or four years to purchase an ambulance for the Red Cross of Kastoria,” he told TNH, noting that since the large and historic Society makes many donations each year, this year they would focus the effort and after so far raising $23,000 of the 55,000 euro cost, they hope to raise another large amount towards the purchase of the ambulance.
“There is an immediate need for the ambulance in Kastoria,” Siokis continued. “We are progressing and hopefully we will give the 50% of the total soon, but as things are, it takes a year and a half for the ambulance to be built, so hopefully in a year and a half the Red Cross will have a new ambulance for all the needs of Kastoria.”
This was the third Taverna Night, Siokis told TNH, the others taking place before the pandemic with the first one raising $38,000 for Mati fire relief, and the second raising funds for the Ronald McDonald House of New York Greek Division.
“This year, whatever we can raise, apart from the expenses, will go towards the purchase of the ambulance,” Siokis said. “Kastoria is suffering, there are many problems due to the decline in the fur trade and many young people, about 2500, had to leave and find work in the islands, and it’s very difficult. We never had such problems in Kastoria and we are all invited to help as much as we can. We are also reaching out to all in the Greek-American community if they would like to help as well since the ambulance will definitely save many lives in Kastoria.”
It should be noted that the Society of Kastorians “Omonia” of New York was founded in 1910, and also includes the Philoptochos Benevolent Society Ladies of Kastoria. According to the Society’s website, the first Kastorian to arrive in the United States was the furrier Vasilios Skaperdas in 1877. Since that time, the community has grown and flourished in the United States while also continuing its philanthropic efforts.
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