Voorhees, NJ – The St. Irene Philoptochos Society of St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church parish of Cherry Hill, NJ, celebrated its successful year of service and philanthropy with its annual Dinner on December 6, 2022. The Dinner – a Gala event – was hosted at the banquet hall “The Mansion” of Voorhees, NJ.

The St. Irene Philoptochos Society presided over by Ms. Carol Pappas, was established in 1970. Still, its origin in Cherry Hill goes back to 1967, then known as the Hellenic Ladies Society (with Ms. Anna Marlys of Cherry Hill being its first president.) Its 160 members are ladies of Cherry Hill and the surrounding area that voluntarily give a tremendous amount of their time and effort to support their Church and community, emphasizing providing aid and comfort for the needy in Society.

The very successful event was ably organized, once again, by Ms. Katerina Kokolis, aided and supported by the entire Society. The evening’s festivities began with an invocation by the V. Rev. Christoforos Oikonomidis, Chancellor of the Holy Metropolis of New Jersey, previously the beloved priest of the St. Thomas Orthodox Church, spoke briefly, congratulating the members on the fine work of the Society.

Its President, Ms. Carol Pappas, spoke briefly about the aims, goals, and recent successes of the Philoptochos and the upcoming efforts in the New Year and gave thanks for the extraordinary volunteerism of the Society. She thanked the many guests (including over 30 delighted gentlemen) and their hosts of “The Mansion” banquet hall.

The V. Rev. Christoforos gave the invocation and praised the Philoptochos Society for their tremendous and continuing work. He participated with Ms. Pappas in a brief ceremony expressing the Society’s appreciation for the successful career that Ms. Kokolis had done, chairing the Society’s dinners.

The Society has nominated Ms. Katerina Kokolis to be honored with the “Ambassador Award” at an upcoming event. Ms. Klio Kokolis is also one of the forthcoming honorees of the award. The V. Rev. Christoforos also spoke of the rebuilt and now complete Church of St. Nicholas in New York, “risen from the ashes” of the “9/11” terrorist attack, and gave particular sympathy and thanks to George and Zoe Kousoulis, who sadly lost their daughter in the tragedy, and who have supported the reconstruction of St. Nicholas.

There followed a sumptuous and as usually impeccably served Dinner by The Mansion, attended by over 170 appreciative members and guests – a capacity attendance – who came despite the inclement weather to celebrate the evening. Music was provided by the famous D.J. Mackie, who caught the guests’ mood with traditional Greek music that filled the dance floor for the rest of the evening.

Not to be left out, Santa Claus also made an appearance, distributing gifts to the guests and leading some dancing. Following tradition, a “50-50” raffle was also held, with the proceeds going toward the charities supported by the Philoptochos Society.