Sharing With Those In Need
This year, at the 21st annual Thanksgiving Day dinner, more than 1,700 people came to devour 80 turkeys weighing 30-35 pounds and large enough to feed seven people. Other delights that were provided included sweet potato, rice, vegetables, salad and bread.
GAHA also delivered 484 raw turkeys to area residents who could not make it to the event held at the organization’s headquarters, 23-49 31st St. in Astoria.
“It was very successful, better than any other year,” Honorary President and Chairman of the Thanksgiving Day dinner George Alexiou said.
The event was made possible through donations of private citizens and businesses that amounted to $20,630 dollars. More than 100 people volunteered for all kinds of positions from cook to delivery person.
Chef Rocco Sacramone of Trattoria L’incontro donated 120 raw turkeys.
For dessert, guests were served pastries, pies and coffee as they enjoyed Greek music provided by Serafim Lazos.
Area politicians including Assemblymember-elect Aravella Simotas, state Senator-elect Michael Gianaris, Consul General of Cyprus in New York Koula Sofianou, President of the Greek American Homeowners Association George Kitsios and Consul of Greece Vaggelis Kirakopoulos, attended the event.
The idea for the free Thanksgiving dinner came from Alexiou himself 21 years ago when he heard of a diner in Long Island that had opened its doors and allowed everyone in to eat for free on Thanksgiving Day.
“When I heard about this I asked myself, why not do the same thing here in Astoria,” Alexiou said.
As president he brought it to the attention of area resident George Fakiris, who was known for his philanthropic nature. Fakiris, feeling that it would be a wonderful idea, agreed to help. Alexiou brought it before the GAHA board that voted for its approval.
“This event is for everybody,” Alexiou said. “More than sixty percent of the people who came were not Greek, but from all different backgrounds.”