Friday, October 18, 2013

Remember Greeks in Greece at Holiday time!

The Holiday Season lets us consider what we can do to help others, instead of falling for the crazy commercialism swirling around us. I am "downsizing" to move into a smaller place and constantly wondering, "Why do I have this (fill in the blank)?"

St. Basil's Church supports both it's own parish family and wonderful outside programs like the One Warm Coat Foundation, the local Emergency Food Bank, and the Salvation Army's Angel Tree. That is so cool. When I was a kid we didn't have that kind of focus -- which goes to show how the Greek-American Community  has not only grown, but has real impact beyond gyro sandwiches and yalaktoboureko. There is great pride both in being Greek and being part of the larger community. Opa!

But have we forgotten someone? How about the Greeks in Greece?

Have we followed the bitter facts of their situation beyond news of bail-outs/no bailouts or corruption in Greek politics? Things may seem a bit stabilized on an international level, but too many Greeks are jobless (27%) and no longer have access to healthcare, depending on underground clinics or other emergency resources. Senior citizens are going without their medications (or begging for money in the streets, true story). Who is at fault? Certainly not the growing number of children who are going to school hungry.  Seriously...these are real people we are talking about!

And some of those people are our relatives. Do we know how they are doing?  Have we sent them something they might need, even a cash gift to lift them up?  Or have we joined the smug chorus of critics that casts blame and heaps ridicule on people who have no control over the situation?

Many Greek-Americans nationally are helping (see: Project Hope for Greece). Now the Holidays provide a great opportunity to do our part to help Greeks in Greece.  If we can't be proud of Greece fulltime through thick and thin, then what exactly is the point of Greek pride? Just sayin'...

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