Panaghia's Pantry is a much needed and new ministry of our St. Spyridon Philoptochos Chapter.
It came to be thanks to our friends and parishioners, Panayota and Vasili Keramidis (Patty and Bill), who live in Ecuador. During all the electronic Zoom meetings, Bible study, lunches with Fr. Evan, etc. they have been able to join us even more during this pandemic than before. It was during one of these sessions that they shared the sad reality of the hunger and desperation happening in Ecuador all around them due to Covid-19. The local people were unable to work, and therefore had no money to buy the basic necessities that we all take for granted. We knew we needed to help, and knew God put us all together for a reason!
Beginning in mid-May the food kits began. Patty and Bill order the food in bulk - rice, lentils, vegetables, chicken, oatmeal and more. They have it delivered to their home, sort it into bags, and assemble the portioned bags into 85 food kits. It is our hope that each of these kits help feed a family of 4-5 people for about 4-5 days.
Since that time, they have delivered 85 kits every week to different areas in need. Below is an excerpt from their most recent delivery:
"85 kits were prepared and were loaded in Alfonso's car. Each kit included rice, lentils, flour, oatmeal or pasta, and chicken.
We delivered in Manglaralto to 45 families we did not go to last week then we drove to a Comuna called San Antonio to distribute the rest. We were stopping at homes and delivering to families and suddenly people realized that we were there with food and came running from all directions for food.
We just parked and began giving the kits right from the car. I was handing bags to Vasili as fast as I could, he was giving them to people while Alfonso took pictures, it was just the three of us, we ran out really fast!
It was actually very difficult emotionally, we have not had this happen before and telling people we were sorry we had no more was heartbreaking. They were hungry and it showed on their faces! I handed a little girl a food kit through the window, she was in tears. An older lady cried when she received and others cried because they had not. Vasili and Alfonso could not even get back in the car and people were looking in the car windows for more, so sad!
You do not realize how bad it is until you can witness it first-hand! We talk about it constantly and lay in bed wondering what more we can do! This wonderful help would not be possible without your support, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, God bless you all!"
It is our goal to continue this ministry even through the Covid-19 crisis, and expand it to offer building materials and more to these people.
Thank you to the many who have already donated, who continue to donate on a regular basis, and especially to Panayota, Vasili and Alfonso for their tireless work to help their neighbors.