I returned recently from Greece where I was lucky enough to spend a day with a woman named Maria Makrogianni on the island of Samos.
I flew to Samos to deliver a donation from some very generous people who wanted to support her continued efforts to feed that island’s refugee population. The donation was administered by the Greek America Foundation and the donors were the generous women’s group from Saints Peter and Paul Greek Orthodox Church in Glenview, Illinois.
Maria’s nickname amongst those she has supported and continues to support— is Mama Maria.
Her innate desire to help is remarkable. It’s her reason for waking up in the morning.
Even after the forced closure of her taverna when racists threatened her life… even after two strokes… Mama Maria is still at it, cooking every day— dozens, hundreds of meals.
Sometimes there’s a line out the door of her own home. Other times she and her husband Michalis park their truck load of prepared meals outside the refugee camp— now home to thousands of people who are stuck in limbo on the island.
I’m trying to build an army of supporters who will keep Maria cooking, as long as she’s physically able to.
I’m asking family and friends to help, as well as readers of The Pappas Post who have been following Maria’s story.
I’ve created a recurring payment campaign via PayPal… $10 a month. All you need to do is click the link below to commit to helping Maria continue to cook and feed thousands of people every month.
For the cost of two fancy cups of coffee at Starbucks every month, you can help feed a dozen people. Even more.
How we help—
Transparency remains key to my efforts to support Maria and the way we lend her that support is through the purchase of cash-value certificates at the local Vasilopoulos grocery store. We never give Maria cash. With these certificates, she can buy the food she needs from the grocery store.
Accountability is also important. If you’re making a long-term, recurring commitment, then I owe you regular accountability. I have done this (and will continue to) via The Pappas Post and other media channels, including a recent collaboration with the BBC where we provided them with some footage that we shot last year.
Finally, sustainability is critical. I created the recurring payment model so that every month, I’ll be able to send Maria a set amount in certificates. We can easily pass a basket and you can decide to give a lump sum, if you like, but the monthly recurring payment model means Maria will have money for food on a regular basis.
In closing, please consider supporting a woman who, literally— embodies all of the good traits that we celebrate as Greeks.
See below the first video we created for The Pappas Post, as well as additional articles and videos.