Upper Darby, PA – It will likely be remembered as one of the most memorable days in history for the Greek American community of Philadelphia. It certainly will be for the year 2013. On this day, the Greek community came together as one to support the survivors of Hurricane Sandy through a relief dance fundraiser.
Hurricane Sandy has received much attention nationally in the months since its devastating toll to communities in New Jersey and New York. Relief for the families and communities has been particularly slow as of late and in the media spotlight because of the federal government’s congressional delays.
So here come the Philadelphia Greeks to the rescue. On short notice, they have taken on the task of assisting those in need.
The initial wave of support and recovery to Hurricane Sandy came by way of organizations like the IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities) and the AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association). They were the first to initiate and supply relief from within the Greek community. Now, because of the continuing slow relief and congressional delays, another initiative took place. Under the auspices of His Eminence, Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey, here in Philadelphia, The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater Philadelphia decided to join in and help.
In less than 2 months, the Greek community of Philadelphia followed a very unconventional path and did what Congress would not. They put their foot down, came together and helped the survivors via a concert fundraiser.
“We’re all here to support the survivors of Hurricane Sandy” Let’s keep that in mind tonight”, said Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey who addressed the crowd before dinner. With that direct and to the point statement by Metropolitan Evangelos, the evening commenced.
By 8:30 pm the St. Demetrios Hall in Upper Darby was full. St. Demetrios had never hosted such a large concert. It’s as if everyone knew the relevance of the evening and being tardy on this evening would make you feel like you missed out on watching the Super Bowl.
President Dimitrios Rozanitis and Secretary Mela Rafailidis Akranis of the Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia then gave a wave of kudos and awards to sponsors and organizations.
Basil Mossaidis of AHEPA Headquarters and Dimitris Kokotas Ahepa District Govern #5 both spoke to the Philadelphia community about relief efforts and then honored the district representatives that helped organize Sandy relief funds.
Ann Michaels Metropolis Philoptochos President then spoke on behalf of the METROPOLIS OF NEW JERSEY and it’s distribution efforts. “All funds and aid into the New Jersey and New York areas will be focused on 55 families and distributed to help restore peoples homes”, said Michaels.
With dinner having been served and recognition to sponsors having been made, music by Atlantis of Philadelphia followed. the next 4 hours of dancing and singing filled the hall. With the lights dimmed down low, singer Diamantis Dionisiou began the evening with a series of songs of his father. Singing and weaving his way across the gymnasium floor, he made stops at tables greeting fans and even shared the microphone with those that began to dance around him, before shaking hands with the Metropolitan.
Singer Katerina Topazi later entered in a very upbeat manner. Covered in a sparkling silver dress she took her own path through the crowd. Some took photographs of her and others with her as she mingled and sang to the crowd of fans. At one point she also sat down at the table of Metropolitan Evangelos and sang for him as he clapped along.
Georgia Chletcos who helped organize the event and brought Dionissiou and Topazi in to perform on short notice was then invited out to the dance floor by Topazi where they embraced and danced.
Father Nectarios of St. Demetrios said that an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 dollars were raised from the Hurricane Sandy Relief Concert. St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, donated its hall and the food services (via George Agatsiotis and his staff) making this a truly wonderful community event.
Many more individuals, local businesses and organizations all took part in this special one-time event that needs to be commended for their efforts.
Also, a reminder that if anyone would like to make a donation to the relief efforts for the victims of Hurricane Sandy, so please send in your checks to St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, 229 Powell Lane, Upper Darby, Pa. 19082
Make the check payable to FEDERATION HURRICANE RELIEF FUND.
All proceeds raised from Hurricane Sandy will go directly to the Metropolitan Philoptochos where they will be distributed to those in need.