A bountiful luncheon was held to benefit Ian Hurricane Relief last Sunday at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Naples, FL. (Photo: Carol Dimopoulos)
NAPLES, FL – “The beautiful church with the gold dome also has a heart of gold,” said St Katherine Greek Orthodox Church Parish Council past president Jim Ketis in his heartfelt appeal on October 9 as he spoke to nearly 300 gathered parishioners and friends in the St. Katherine Cultural Hall in Naples, FL.
Ketis, President of Al Porter Commercial Painting in Naples, along with his wife Tina and the community’s presiding priest Fr. Demetre Mott spearheaded the fundraising to support Hurricane Ian relief efforts. The Ketis family sponsored the free luncheon while Dino Vlachos (brother of Tina Ketis) and his wife Frida prepared the delicious meal, served by volunteers and ladies of the St. Katherine Philoptochos. Many contributed to a free will offering. Fr. Mott made this commitment: “This is our moment as a church – a family, to be more than people of worship. Now we must be partners in Christ’s mission to care for the poor and needy, the suffering, the lost, and the forsaken.”
A leadership gift of $50,000 by Agape Charities kicked off the parish’s fundraising efforts. Agape Charities is a Ministry of St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church. In addition, the Parish Council donated $5,000 and St. Katherine Youth Ministries $1,000. Matching gifts of $10,000 each were donated by Art and Denise Katsaros, Foti and Joyce Frangakis, Jim and Tina Ketis, and Steven and Aliki Cambria. Individual gifts and pledges of $1,000 or more came from Vasili and Ana Avramis, Steve and Elaine Betzios, Cathy Callas, Chrysilios and Belinda Chysiliou, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel and Presvytera Sapfo Clapsis, William and Maria Dagiantis, Harry and Carol Dimopoulos, Sam and Bessie Giannakakis, Fr. Demetre and Presvytera Natalie Mott, Terry Lardakis, Ron and Cynthia Lynn, Barbara Marlas, Steve and Elaine Melonides, Ike and Eryni Papadopoulos, William and Georgy Ann Peluchiwski, John and Betty Pizzi, George and Sheila Pullos, St. Katherine Philoptochos, St. Katherine Youth Ministries, Daniel Shedrick, William and Linda Stavropoulos, Michael Stefanos, Kostas and Donna Tsiskakis, Tom and Joanne Venetis, Ann Marie Vourlos, and Stephanie Whiffen. The choir of St. Katherine has pledged $500.
The community will begin immediately distributing all funds raised by St. Katherine with a sub-committee of Agape Charities to those in greatest need in Collier and Lee Counties.
Donations may also be made online by going to www.stkatherinenaples.org and clicking on the ‘Donate to Hurricane Relief’ banner, or sent to St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church, 7100 Airport Pulling Road N., Naples, FL 34109. Be sure to designate ‘Hurricane Ian Relief’ on checks.
Fr. Mott commented: “At the most recent Agape Charity’s meeting, a unanimous vote took place to authorize $50,000 to go directly to individuals who have lost everything in the wake of Hurricane Ian. I am proud as the priest of this community to see such a timely and appropriate response to the devastation around us. This initiative, along with the efforts of our Ladies Philoptochos mobilizing carloads of food and water to our sister parish of Annunciation this past week has enacted a movement guided and growing by the grace of the Holy Spirit.”
Earlier in the week, the Anastasia Chapter, St. Katherine Philoptochos transported non-perishable food and water to assist The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Myers in setting up an emergency Food Bank. The Food Drive continues at St. Katherine, and food may be dropped off at the office from 10 AM-4 PM Monday through Friday, as well as Sunday mornings. Grocery and gasoline gift cards also are welcome.
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