By PETE FONTAINE
While the early sell out of homemade Greek pastries was a disappointment to some, the success of the recent Greek Food Fest and Christmas Bazaar at the Church of the Annunciation in Cranston will bring smiles to nonprofits.
Despite a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Greek Orthodox parish’s Good Samaritan Ladies Philoptochos Society has resumed donations to a number of RI-based charities and non-profits.
Long-time Chairlady Georgia Pappas announced proceeds from this year’s festival will go to Amos House, various groups within the Greek Orthodox Church including the Methodius Summer Camp, American Cancer Society, Hospice Care of RI, Interfaith Food Ministry, Greek Language School and Sails to Prevail, a unique non-profit that helps handicapped people learn to sail.
“We don’t build up a treasury,” Pappas explained. “We give out almost all the money we make except some startup money for next year. Please remember Philoptochos means friends of the poor.”
Likewise, the Church of the Annunciation upheld and may have surpassed its reputation for serving what countless bazaar goers called “great Greek Food and pastry.”
In fact, before the end of the festival the pastry counter was sold out. That didn’t deter people from enjoying home-cooked delicious dinners like plates of Roasted Lamb, Stifatho, Pork Souvlaki and Roasted Chicken that were served with oven roasted potatoes, specially seasoned string beans, rice pilaf and Greek salad.
“We love the food here” declared Heidi Seddon, a parishioner at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in Warwick who was accompanied by four family members including her granddaughter. “It always tastes great and is well presented.”
Seddon, like others was amazed to learn that every piece of pastry – including the highly-popular Baklava – is made by parishioners who make up the all volunteer ladies group that through the years has raised thousands of dollars they’ve donated to important non-profits and charities.
Likewise, in keeping with tradition, the Philoptochos Society offered people an opportunity for to do some early holiday shopping at the Christmas Boutique, Vintage Treasures and Jewelry booths as well as purchasing food items at the Agora Greek Marketplace.
Demetrakas Hall was also filled with a festive holiday feeling displayed on a wide movie-like screen that featured a snow scene in front of a decorated Christmas tree.
“The centerpieces say it all,” were some of the comments Pappas received about the snowmen and sparkling mini-Christmas Trees at tables covered in holiday colors.
There was also a Day Raffle featuring a myriad of prizes including a $300 overnight stay at Mohegan Sun, gift basket donated by Dave’s Marketplace and transformer race car that amazed young and old alike.
The Wreath Gift Card table, which was manned by Josie and Karen Aliferakis, was busy serving people who hoped to win one of three Christmas wreaths that were covered with gift cards totaling $1,095.
Pappas issued “a huge thank you to all the people who visited us and for their support through the years. Our members work hard to provide the best food and pastry possible. Again, thank everyone you and we look forward to seeing you again next year!”