Feed the Hungry Initiative

In response to the on-going financial crisis so many families throughout New England are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos launched the Feed the Hungry Initiative to assist the Metropolis Chapters in their work. Chapters have continued to work hard support the increased need in their communities without much opportunity to fundraise. Through the support of the Metropolis community we turned $2,000 into nearly $13,000, an overwhelming response and true testament of the love that flows throughout our metropolis. With these funds, we are excited to announce that 13 chapters across the Metropolis of Boston will receive a $1,000 grant to continue an ongoing ministry in their community.

A Bit of Background

The Executive board of the National Philoptochos sent each Metropolis Philoptochos $2,000 for the purchase of gift cards to local supermarkets to support need in our Metropolis. Wanting to extend our reach beyond the Boston area, the Boston Board decided to match that amount from the treasury and many individual Board members contributed, including his Eminence Metropolitan Methodios bringing the fund up to nearly $7,000. The remainder of the funds came from members of our Metropolis both individuals and fellow Philoptochos Chapters contributing to support their Sisters in our shared mission.  

Grant Recipients

A call went out to all chapters to request a one-time grant in support of a ministry within their community. We received 13 submissions from all across New England. Every chapter is supporting an organization or ministry that works solely on donations and community support. They are cooking meals, supporting food pantries, purchasing gift cards, and they are engaging their whole community –young and old- engage in the power of giving. Learn about the remarkable work each chapter is doing. Congratulations to the 13 grant recipients!

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Massachusetts

Saints Constantine and Helen Church, Andover, MA
Kathy Coufos, President
The Saints Constantine and Helen Chapter will continue their support of the Christian Angel Smile Foundation which was started by Desi and Peter Souhleris in 2007. For the past 10 years the foundation’s mission is to supply 600 + families for Thanksgiving and Christmas with everything they need to have a complete holiday meal for a family of 6-8 people.  All food bags are assembled at Sts. Constantine and Helen in Andover by many volunteers and then picked up by various organization leaders to be delivered out to families all around the NorthShore and Merrimack Valley.

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of New England, Boston, MA
Kally Badavas, President
The Annunciation Cathedral Philoptochos chapter will enhance their support of the Women’s Lunch Place in Boston, a day shelter for homeless and displaced women. They have supported this program for two years by providing over 160 new winter blankets. At the start of the pandemic the Chapter donated 90 dozen eggs to the shelter. The eggs were purchased for their Palm Sunday Luncheon that was cancelled due to the pandemic. With this Metropolis grant they will present a check to provide lunch to the women in addition to the blankets that the Chapter will again provide this coming winter.

St. John the Baptist Church, Boston, MA
Georgia Lagadinos, President
The St. John the Baptist Chapter launched a Blessing Bag Drive in late September for the homeless community in Boston. In conjunction with the Pine Street Inn Outreach Team they have distributed over 108 bags to the individuals in need in the first month. Each bag contains masks, an array of various hygiene products, hand and foot warmers, a winter hat, gloves, socks, a fleece blanket, and non-perishable food items. The grant will assist them in the next phase of this project which is to focus on the homeless veterans community affiliated with the Pine Street Inn especially around the holidays. They plan to add more food items to the existing content of the bags.

Holy Trinity Church, Holyoke, MA
Sharon Konstantinidis, President
Holy Trinity Church along with the Philoptochos Chapter in Holyoke began the mission of serving the homeless monthly in December 2019 on the steps of their church, in collaboration with Tapestry Health --a traveling health and needle exchange RV. Their "Feed the Hungry" ministry has since moved off site to a location with great need and has served and average of 20 visitors each month. At the start of the COVID-19 crisis, they began supplying the local food pantry with $100 of purchased canned goods each month. This November they are started the feeding ministry again. This grant will allow them to resume their winter ministry (5 months) to distribute hot soup, sandwiches, hats, and gloves as the need is great and continues to increase.

St. George Church, Lynn, MA
Stacy Arambages, President
The St. George Philoptochos Chapter works with the church’s "Caring and Sharing" program to provide meals, gift cards and other necessary items to those in need. It is a fulltime program operating year round to support all families in need. Over the course of each year, they give out $2500 in Market Basket gift cards and they deliver 85 baskets each Thanksgiving to 55 families and 30 shut-ins. Due to this year's pandemic, they will be giving out gift cards instead of food. The grant will allow them to continue this ministry and offer families much needed support in their community.

St. Vasilios Church, Peabody, MA
Evelyn Limberakis Rockas, President
The members of St. Vasilios Philoptochos Athena Chapter have had a long-standing relationship with their neighbors, Haven for Hunger/Citizens Inn, located a block away from the Church in downtown Peabody. The Haven is a food pantry and kitchen which serves Peabody and the surrounding towns. Throughout the year, the Philoptochos regularly prepares and serves meals and donates groceries, clothing, and funds. They have been able to continue their schedule of cooking and providing meals (grab & go brown bags) at the Church to approximately 50 clients of the Inn at least twice a month. This grant will allow them to donate to the Inn and provide more for the increased individuals and families they serve.

St. Gregory the Theologian Church, Mansfield, MA
Yvette Politis, President
The St. Gregory the Theologian Chapter will continue their work on two philanthropic projects- Food & Friends and Backpack Buddies. St. Gregory Church partners with Mansfield’s Food & Friends, a local food kitchen serving between 50 and 75 individuals once a month. Part of this grant will allow them to increase their monetary support in addition to serving. The Backpack Buddies program, in connection with Mansfield Public Schools, provides a backpack full of food to students experiencing food insecurity to take home for the weekend until they can return to school on Monday. Part of this grant will be distributed to the program in addition to any feed items collected from their community.

St. George Cathedral, Springfield, MA
Penny Goncalves, President
St. George’s Chapter in Springfield has worked with the Gray House for 15 years. The chapter has supported them in many ways from hosting their annual Spaghetti Supper fundraiser to getting hands on with helping them renovate their historic Victorian house. The Gray House was started by three nuns who renovated the house with help from their community and continues to be a Christian based charity 30 years later. The ministry began to help the people in one of the lowest income communities in Springfield. Programs include: after school program for children; a program to assist in obtaining American citizenship, a summer program for children, a food pantry to name a few. It is free to members of the community and supported entirely by donations. This chapter’s grant will be donated to the Gray House.

Annunciation Church, Woburn, MA
Olympia Frazier, President

The Annunciation Chapter of Woburn, MA serves at the Dwelling Place a soup kitchen in Woburn. Since the pandemic they have seen an increase in guests from about 25 people a month to serving 41 in October, seeing people they have not served before. The increase in guests had forced them to only be able to offer each guest a $10 grocery store give card. The grant will allow them to offer each guest a $20 grocery store gift card in addition to their meal and continue to support the Dwelling Place.

New Hampshire

Assumption Church, Manchester, NH
Lucie Skouteris, President
This grant will allow the Chapter at Assumption Church of Manchester, NH to continue their ongoing community work. This past year they were focused on helping those who are food insecure.  For those experiencing hardships, who directly reached out to the Philoptochos Soteria for help, they provided gift cards to supermarkets to assist with food purchases. They shopped for non-perishable food items and delivered them to New Horizons, a soup kitchen, food pantry and shelter.  They made monetary donations directly to the NH Food Bank to help address the significant increase in demand for food assistance and to their local Boys & Girls Club for help towards breakfast, lunch and snacks for children who rely on them for their meals. Lastly, they donated personal hygiene and infant needs items to Waypoint (formerly Child and Family Services) to support people who are choosing to eat and forego the basic necessities needed for personal hygiene. This grant will allow them to continue these initiatives.

St. Nicholas Church, Portsmouth, NH
Hilde Kamakas, President
St. Nicholas Chapter will use their grant to continue supporting their two local community organizations in Manchester, NH: their local food bank, Gather, and Operation Blessing. Operation Blessing is a community outreach program that helps fight poverty by embracing people and families in crisis with compassion, offering hope and healing for changed lives by providing food, clothing and household necessities to those in need. They also promote healthy life choices through targeted community education and outreach programs. They offer a place of hope and dignity for a changed life that comes through faith in Christ. They have supported both through the years, by collecting clothing or food and making monetary donations. This grant will allow them to continue this support.

Rhode Island

Church of the Annunciation, Cranston, RI
Marianne Phelan, President
The Church of the Annunciation Chapter supports the Interfaith Food Ministry in Providence, Rhode Island and was one of the founding churches 25 years ago. The Church is one of four church in Providence that help operate the ministry which is fully supported by the community. A main source of food products is the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. The ministry is a food pantry that distributes a week’s worth of food to assist individuals and families, in 2019 distributing about 49,000 pounds of food. In response to the pandemic the distribution for 2020 is sure to be significantly larger. The grant will be used to purchase food for the ministry and allow other donations to support operating costs such as cleaning supplies, rent, etc.

Vermont

Dormition of the Mother of God, Burlington, VT
Presbytera Anthe Athas, President
As a small chapter, the Dormition of the Mother of God Chapter in Burlington, VT doesn't have the woman-power to conduct a food pantry or other hands-on program. They use the money from their two bake sales to support their charitable giving. The grant will allow them to continue Philoptochos’ mission of being friends of the poor. They will continue to provide grocery and gas gift cards for those who come to the church seeking assistance for food and support of local and state food bank programs, as well as international programs that feed the hungry. They also look forward to continuing to hold two food drives a year, one at Thanksgiving and another at Easter to encourage parish participation in feeding the hungry.

Our chapters are doing such amazing work throughout the Metropolis. Visit our Facebook and Instagram Accounts often for updates.