Imagine giving your all— food, time, money and resources, to support tens of thousands of incoming refugees arriving in your town or village. You stop your own life to help those less fortunate. You’re a human being, after all, right?
Of course, you get the praise, the accolades and wonderful newspaper headlines calling you a hero. You even get nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
But when the headlines stop and the images of you helping refugees off boats stop appearing online and on newspaper front pages— the world forgets about you. Not only forgets about you, but stops visiting your island, causing tourism— your livelihood— to drop by 60 or 70 per cent, even more in some places.
Even worse, you’ve done such a good job at helping people and providing for their medical needs— but now, your own hospital that you rely on for your own medical needs is out of supplies.
Did the people of Lesvos do wrong in becoming “heroes” of humanity?
Nick Livanos certainly doesn’t think so— but he also believes its time to look to these people and offer them a hand.
Over the past year, Lesvos, Greece has been inundated with refugees from the Middle East, who are fleeing war and strife, leaving their homes to stay alive and provide a brighter future for their children.
The Greek people have been thrust into the “first responder” role for all of Europe, accepting a humanitarian responsibility that is especially challenging given the economic crisis in Greece.
“The refugees that enter Europe through our island remind us of how many of the residents came to Greece and the island of Lesvos 95 to 100 years ago. They fled Asia Minor, present day Turkey, due to persecution that took place at that time. That’s how my grandparents and great grandparents came,” Nick Livanos said in an interview with the Armonk Daily Voice.
“Equally as important,” he added, “are the Greek residents and the local economy, both of which are suffering due to Greece’s economic crisis compounded by depleted tourism, which is down 80 to 90 percent and which the island is highly dependent on.
“On top of all that, the one and only hospital on the island is depleted of all the basic supplies necessary,”
Due to the high volume of incoming refugees, the only hospital on the island has been completely depleted of all essentials and is in dire need of even the most basic medical supplies.
The Livanos family, proprietors of numerous restaurants throughout the New York metropolitan area including City Limits in Stamford, Conn. and White Plains, Moderne Barn in Westchester County and Manhattan’s Molyvos and Oceana, will host a fundraiser in conjunction with the Afya Foundation, which will send badly needed funds to Lesvos to replenish the hospital with badly-needed medical equipment and supplies, to tend to the needs of both the incoming refugees, but also the local resident population.
The reception-style ticketed affair, to be held Thursday, Sept. 29, will feature an open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres by Chef Ethan Kostbar, live Greek music, live and silent auctions, and brief presentations from Nick Livanos and Danielle Butin, executive director of Afya. Reservations can be made via email here.