By Georgia Vlitas, Staten Island, NY and Jennifer Constantin, Scarsdale, NY
Talk about flexibility! When we got to 33rd Street and 7th Avenue last night, a street sign greeted us announcing the street was closed because a pedestrian plaza was under construction in “our” spot. As we were trying to determine where to set up, one of our guests tapped on our car window to tell us to go around the block to 33rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues and he would find our guests and let them know where we would be set up for the night! Amazing!
So off we went – a four car caravan - to a new location! As we were arriving, some of our guests were waiting for us, and they actually helped us set up our tables and bins. We were a little concerned, thinking that most of the guests would not be able to find us, but we knew that would be the best option since the circumstances were beyond our control.
It was a little disappointing at first because very few guests showed up, but as the evening progressed some of our guests found us and said, “We’ve been looking for you Greeks!” and “We are so happy to see you!”Thank you to Lily Katos for purchasing the ingredients for the delicious beef stew and to Fr. Dionysios Anagnostopoulos from Holy Cross Church in Whitestone, New York for being our personal chef and preparing it! Thank you to Nellie Logothetides, Evellyn Tsiadis, Annie Sullivan and Tina Marie Vlitas for your help and donations. Fr. Demetrios Kazakis from St. Nicholas in West Babylon, New York, was warmly greeting and engaging our guests during this trying time for his parish after the recent fire in their church. The photos of the damage to their church brought us all to tears.
Despite the “new location” and hot & humid evening, we were able to distribute our homemade beef stew, Metro Café sandwiches and wraps, koulourakia made by the residents of St. Michael’s home, granola bars, clementines, cold water and juice. We also distributed socks and toiletries. (The ladies especially loved the Clinique lipstick!) We may have left, hot and tired, but it was another rewarding experience in the life of Philoptochos outreach!Due to our relocation, we still had stew, rolls, snacks, and fruit, but God is always there watching over us and as Jennifer arrived at a men’s shelter to deliver the remaining food items, she saw men waiting outside the shelter in the heat. Upon entering, she learned that they had run very low on food, so the men waiting outside had been turned away! She hadn’t even finished unpacking the car before one of the men told her how delicious the stew was. He was already eating it!
What started out as an uncertain evening, ended up allowing these men to enter an air-conditioned shelter, and be fed a delicious meal instead of sleeping on the streets! When life gives you lemons….