By David Bjorkgren, Special to the Hellenic News of America
There is a new non-profit in the Greater Philadelphia area working hard to provide quick help for Hellenes in need.
Hellenic Hearts offers a needs-based safety net, providing funds for services ranging from financial aid for education to temporary housing, to food assistance.
“We have put together an incredible board that is going to work very, very hard to make sure that people that need, and have hardship, will get [help] in an expedited manner,” says John Aivazoglou, Esq., president and co-founder of Hellenic Hearts.
Aivazoglou, an active member of St. George Greek Orthodox church in Media, spoke recently with the Hellenic News about Hellenic Hearts and about an Oct. 1 fundraiser at the Estia restaurant in Philadelphia.
Hellenic Hearts is the brain child of Aivazoglou, along with fellow co-founders and board members Nick Karalis, Tim Vlassopoulos and Kostas Mikropoulos. The organization’s goal is to provide immediate financial assistance for all qualified participants within 48 hours, according to the Hellenic Hearts website at www.hellenic-hearts.com. The organization provides emergency cash grants and free money to qualified individuals to help them pay critical bills in an emergency.
“Generally, how it’s going to work is if someone has hardship, they can contact us through the internet or through their priest and we will try to provide emergency assistance to that individual in an expedited manner,” Aivazoglou says.
Hellenic Hearts is also youth-focused. It is creating a learning center in Upper Darby which will provide Hellene youth educational support and counseling services which include mentoring, SAT preparation, admissions counseling, needs-based scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies and counseling services for internships and job placement. Volunteers are now being sought for the center.
The Oct. 1 fundraiser at the Estia restaurant, 1405-07 Locust Street, Philadelphia, is the Hellenic Hearts inaugural dinner. The event is slated for7 p.m. and will include wine tastings, food stations, and a silent auction. Tickets are $150, $75 of which is tax deductible.
“We welcome all members and prospective members to the grand opening for Estia’s eclectic tasting of food and Greek wine in their banquet facility,” states a Hellenic Hearts release appearing on the Hellenic News website (www.hellenicnews.com). For tickets, contact John Aivazoglou at 610-876-880, or click on the link in the online release.
“The goals are to put together a significant membership,” Aivazoglou says. The group already boasts more than 50 members since its launch this past spring. Annual membership fees will run $1,000 for families, $500 for individuals under age 40.
A Hellenic Hearts video at www.vimeo.com sums up the group’s mission.
“ One person may not be able to make a difference but synergistically as a group, the Hellenic Hearts, can and will assist those who need it the most,” a narrator in the video states.