GAHOA Holds Annual Thanksgiving Lunch
Every year, the Greek American Homeowners Association (GAHOA) feeds over 1,000 mouths in Queens on Thanksgiving Day. Volunteers gather at an annual group lunch to serve full Thanksgiving dinners to people in need, including the elderly, the homeless and those looking for good food and company. They also deliver both cooked meals and uncooked turkeys to those who cannot attend.
Last year, more than 500 people attended the lunch, held at the GAHOA headquarters in Astoria. About 1,200 meals were distributed, accompanied by 475 uncooked 10 to 12 pound turkeys.
This year marks the 21st consecutive year that GAHOA will provide free dinners. Many elected officials are expected to attend. In the past, notable figures such as Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Archbishop Dimitrios have attended. Some attendees even travel from out-of-state to attend the lunch, such as an 80-year-old man from New Jersey several years ago who simply wanted a friendly atmosphere in which to celebrate the holiday.
“We used to specify that the lunch was for the homeless and the needy,” Chairman George Alexiou said. “Now, it’s for anyone who wants to come. We need to give back and that’s what we are doing. It has been very successful.”
Peter Stathatos, the founder of the event, began offering the free meals in honor of his deceased mother the Thanksgiving after her death in 1989. Since then, the organization has continued to provide residents of Queens and others in need with full Thanksgiving dinners with all the traditional fixings. GAHOA is located at 23-49 31st St. and can be contacted at 718-545-4046.