By Aphrodite Kotrotsios and Fotis Kaliambakos – Special to the Hellenic News of America
With a significant turnout at the fully-packed luxurious hall of the New York Athletic Club in the heart of Manhattan, the annual Philanthropic Christmas Gala of the Greek Division of the Ronald McDonald House of New York took place. The organization, which has assisted more than 10,000 children and their families in their battle against an incurable disease over its 45-year existence, invites friends and supporters every year during this season to a festive event, the proceeds of which also go towards its noble cause.
During the event, the organization spoke about its mission, thanking those in attendance for their participation and support. Present at the event were Ruth Browne, the president of the foundation; Vasiliki Renda-Sakka, the vice president of the Greek section of the organization; and Spyridoula Katechis. Just like every year, the organization honored significant personalities of the Greek community for their philanthropic work. This year, the honorees were Michael Psyllos, the president and CEO of ALMA Bank, and Demetrios Ziozis, the president and CEO of Linon Home Décor. The Niki Sideris Legacy Award was presented to Spyros Maliagros and his wife Markella for their $60,000 contribution to the organization’s program of the same name.
The prayer was led by Bishop Athenagoras of Nazianzus, who also conveyed the message of His Eminence Elpidophoros, Archbishop of America. The event was attended by the Consul General of Greece in New York, Dimitris Papageorgiou, and numerous distinguished Greek-Americans, including John Catsimatidis and his wife Margo, Nancy Papaioannou, Philip Christopher, the head of HACC Athas Ioannou, and the executive director Alexandra Mitsaki.
The musical program was handled by Cyprus New York Productions under the direction of Fytos Stratis, featuring performances by Dimitris Michail, Angeliki Psoni, Ariadne Anna, Mark Ryan Anderson, and violinist Raphailia Kapsokavadi.