The Hellenic Initiative Supports Food Bank Program in Greece

July 14, 2020

THI Donates $15,000 to Ladies Union in Drama Food Bank Program

The ‘Ladies Union of Drama – Open Hospitality House’ is a small-scale non-profit philanthropic agency with a big heart that makes a big impact on helping families in Northeast Greece. In 2019 a Food Bank was added to its wide-ranging social services – one of four branches outside Athens of Food Bank Greece – that serves the needs of 1,700 family members. In 2020, The Hellenic Initiative (THI) funded a full-time food bank position for an entire year. The position has been filled and is responsible for general control of the food bank. Through this donation, the Ladies Union ensures that food which cannot be absorbed by the market is offered free of charge to individuals and institutions.

The timing could not have been better and the women have already risen to the COVID-19 challenge – for example, they stepped in to help feed families throughout the Prefecture of Drama when the soup kitchens of the Church had to shut down.

“When the lockdown began, we did not cease our operations. We adjusted, bringing food to people’s homes with our van,” said Program Director Chrysa Kelaidi. They also rapidly made their office operations compatible with the COVID-19 measures and also learned how to more effectively use the Internet both for operations and fundraising. 

The Ladies Union is also one of Greece’s many ‘volunteerism’ success stories. “We invite people who have doubts about volunteerism in Greece to visit Drama and meet our President, Aliki Tsiamoura, and see how we operate. 70% of our work is performed by volunteers. We have nine employees and 20 volunteers.”

After thanking THI, saying  “your assistance helped hire a specialist who enables our Food Bank to serve Eastern Macedonia and Thrace,” Aliki shared her personal and organizational philosophy: “When we support our fellow man, we support ourselves, and when we help others, we find personal inner peace.”

Mr. Jeremy Downward, THI Board Member, stated: “For over 100 years, the Ladies Union of Drama is providing the essentials and much-needed support to the people of Drama. With our gift, we are helping them achieve even more. THI will help their story to be heard outside of Greece.”

Mr. Michael Printzos, THI’s Program Director, stated: “Securing food aid for people in need has proven to be of even greater importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our gift will allow the Ladies Union of Drama to donate over 5,500 kg of food, otherwise wasted, to over 1,700 families living in the wider Drama region.”