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Our COVID-19 Initiatives

There have been many moments of crisis in history since the establishment of Philoptochos in 1931. Throughout almost 90 years, our Members have stayed true to the mission of Philoptochos - being a “friend of the poor.” The Metropolis of Boston is comprised of 42 active Chapters who continue to outreach and support their communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic and stay engaged on the Metropolis and National Levels.

We regularly share the great works of our Chapters through Chapter Highlights. We have compiled a special edition, showcasing work done in response to COVID-19. Despite Stay at Home orders and many places being shut down, Philoptochos found ways to continue showing love to the communities we serve. Thank you to all the wonderful Philoptochos members who have worked tirelessly throughout the Metropolis to serve those in need during this crisis.

Here we share a few examples of the great work by our Chapters. If you would like to share what your Chapter has been doing, please contact Athena Kalyvas, Metropolis Board President, adkalyvas@gmail.com.

Dormtition of the Mother of God
Their yearly bake sale was not something that they ladies of the Dormition were ready to give up. With some ingenuity and the help of technology they put together a virtual, pre-order only bake sale. Via Zoom they met to arrange their various tasks, took orders online, and then volunteers baked. The bake sale was a success and just in time for Thanksgiving. Take a look at their fill story here.

Annunciation Philoptochos, Woburn, MA - President Olympia Frazier
Amid the crisis, the Chapter has continued to prepare food for the Dwelling Place Soup Kitchen of Woburn, an organization that provides hot meals to the community, which the chapter serves on a monthly basis. Members have organized the sewing of 600 masks made for hospital workers and have assisted in grocery shopping for the elderly in their community.

St. Nektarios Philoptochos, Roslindale, MA - President Dina Toumbouras
Donated $500 to the Roslindale Food Pantry, an organization which the Chapter regularly supports and feeds 250-300 families a week in Roslindale and West Roxbury. The Chapter provided financial relief to members in their community during the Easter season and continue their ministry of Social Service as need continues. To spread some joy and thanks, the Chapter provided Greek pastries to the Roslindale Police and Fire Departments and frontline workers at the local Veterans Hospital.

St. George Philoptochos, Pittsfield, MA - President Viki Gagliardo
As a part of the historic but small Parish in the picturesque Berkshires, this Chapter donated $5,000 to support their Church during this difficult time in their almost 100-year history. Additionally, the Chapter contacted each Parishioner to offer financial assistance, if there was a need.

Holy Trinity Philoptochos, Portland, ME - President Soula Varaklis
The Chapter donated $1000 to the Good Shepherd Food Bank which serves the entire state of Maine. The Parish Priest is working with the Chapter to assist any parishioner seeking financial assistance.

St. John the Baptist Philoptochos, Boston, MA - President Georgia Lagadinos
Effie Pesirides has tirelessly sewn masks and caps for hospitals and other organizations through Sewing COVID 19 Help- Working Together (Wellesley, Newton, Needham and more) since the stay at home order began. Most of the supplies have been purchased by her, however she has had many donations of fabrics and elastics. Through all this, Effie is so grateful that she is helping so many people and keeps her sewing machine going with a full heart and a huge smile. 

As of May 6, 2020, Sewing COVID-19 Help has donated 10,979 masks, 280 caps, 40 button strips, and 240 headbands to various organizations across Massachusetts including South Shore Hospital, Horizons for Homeless Children, Worcester County Sheriff, Newton Police, Brigham and Women’s Hospital to name a few.

Chapter members have kept up with parishioners by making wellness phone calls to check in and make sure if anyone needs help they would receive it. The Chapter along with Parish Council made a monetary donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank, which serves 190 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts.   

Saints Constantine & Helen Philoptochos, Andover, MA - President Kathy Coufos
The Chapter donated funds to a local YMCA Women’s Shelter, an organization which helps women and children find shelter and obtain support if they have been in an abusive situation. The Chapter also donated to Project Bread, a Massachusetts organization that assists residents across the state with food insecurity, supports school lunches and various other initiatives to help end hunger across the state.

Next, the Chapter is looking at other community outreach such as assembling bagged meals to give to local shelters and sending meals to front line health care workers in COVID-19 units at local hospitals. 

Annunciation Cathedral Philoptochos, Boston, MA - President Kally Badavas
The Chapter has shown support across several areas of the Boston community. One simple but powerful gesture has been calling parishioners to check in, simply have a conversation, and provide encouragement that we will be seeing each other soon!

Right at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the Annunciation Chapter having cancelled their Annual Palm Sunday Bake Sale, donated 90 dozen eggs to the Women’s Lunch Place in Boston – a day shelter for women experiencing poverty and homelessness.

Additionally, they have donated $1,000 to Project Bread and $500 to MGH Meals. Organized by Chef’s Table, MGH Meals provides meals to the nurses and doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. On May 18th the Chapter was scheduled to serve dinner at the New England Center and Home for Veterans in Boston. A donation was made in the amount of $400 to cover the meal.They organized a Giving Day in honor of mothers on Mother’s Day and proceeds will go towards a worthy cause as need arises.

St. Demetrios Philoptochos, Weston, MA - President Matina Pappas
Together Maria Makkas of Makkas Drapery and Evangeline Calivas have sewn 700 masks donated to Lowell General Hospital. The Chapter has delivered snacks to frontline workers at Newton Wellesley Hospital. Proceeds from their Easter bake sale and Lamb raffle were donated to local food banks and a monetary donation was made to Project Bread.

Holy Trinity Church, Holyoke, MA- President Sharon Konstantinidis 
In December 2019, this Chapter held their first “Feed the Hungry” event on the steps of their Church in collaboration with Tapestry Health – a traveling health and needle exchange RV. That day, they served one visitor. In January, a colder and windier day, they served 20 visitors at an off site location. The ministry continued into March and the start of the COVID-19 crisis by supplying the food pantry with canned goods to be distributed. They hope to be able to resume serving those on the streets soon.

Norwich, CT- President Anne-Helene Grossomanides
The Chapter purchased $1,000 of gift cards and provided them to their Parish Priest to distribute to Parishioners in need and those in local communities around the Church in Norwich, CT.  In addition, the Chapter Donated $225 to the Ministry Awards to feed 21 people- one meal for each of their Philoptochos Chapter members.

Thank you for all you do! If you would like to share what your Chapter has been doing, please contact Athena Kalyvas, Metropolis Board President, adkalyvas@gmail.com.