NEW YORK – The Loukoumi Foundation presented the 7th Annual Loukoumi Make A Difference Awards on June 18. The event was held virtually for the second year in a row due to the pandemic. Among the honorees, His Eminence Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan was presented with the Inspiration Award. An American cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Dolan is the tenth and current Archbishop of New York, having been appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009.
Loukoumi Foundation President Nick Katsoris gave the welcoming remarks at the moving event which included videos highlighting the tremendous year the organization had with 100,000 youngsters doing good deeds and not only participating in charitable efforts, but spearheading them as well, across the United States and internationally. As many of the children noted in the presentation: “Together we can make a difference.”
Katsoris also introduced a video tribute to Olympia Dukakis who passed away in April and was one of the Foundation’s biggest supporters. The late actress and Academy Award-winner was also the voice of Marika in the Loukoumi children’s book series and promoted the book in an appearance on the Martha Stewart show. In the video, Dukakis noted the book’s important message of doing good deeds and helping others and how she thought it was “the sweetest book.”
The following honorees were also recognized with the 2021 Loukoumi Make A Difference Awards: Ruby Kate Chitsey (Harrison, AR) Sophia and Elie Clarke (Ashburn, VA); Danialle Karmanos (Bloomfield Hills, MI); Laura de Leon (Eastchester High School); Gianna Quinto (Anne Hutchinson School); Justin Sather (Los Angeles, CA); Achilles Siouzios and Bobby Guhring (The Chapel School) Kingston Catholic School (Ulster County); St. Mary Academy and Lucas Johan (Manahawkin, NJ); Our Lady Queen of Martyrs School (Manhattan).
The Loukoumi Foundation’s latest projects and partnerships were also noted during the virtual event, including the Club for the Future effort with Team Blue presented by Beckett Potter, the partnership with Pitch in for Baseball and Softball which was presented by Constantine Katsoris, and the continuing efforts for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, presented by Ava Tsapatsaris.
Potter also introduced celebrity Chef Maria Loi who announced the partnership with The Floating Hospital in Long Island City, NY, a nonprofit organization with 150 years offering healthcare to those in need. During the pandemic, Chef Loi delivered thousands of meals to frontline healthcare workers, including those at the Floating Hospital which is “striving to make a difference” in the community. She noted the importance of eating a nutritious, balanced diet in order to stay healthy and how the partnership would involve the teaching kitchen at the Floating Hospital’s flagship location in Long Island City with education on healthy foods and meal preparation for those living in shelters and families in need, teaching social, practical and life skills with workshops on healthy eating. Chef Loi also mentioned that to raise funds for the Floating Hospital, the family of Eileen Finkel donated scarves that were among the items up for bid in the event’s silent auction.
The Inspiration Award was then presented to Cardinal Dolan along with a video featuring students from the Catholic schools in the New York Archdiocese. Following the video, Cardinal Dolan noted that he is inspired by all the honorees and mentioned the motto of the Foundation, “one good deed at a time” and how it reminded him of Mother Theresa and how she helped so many people, by helping one person at a time. He also pointed out how the young people doing good deeds through the Loukoumi Foundation are following St. Francis of Assisi, “for it is in giving that we receive.”
Katsoris thanked all those who participated and wished everyone a happy Father’s Day as the event concluded with a song by Gloria Gaynor inspired by the Loukoumi Foundation and slides thanking the event sponsors and all those who support the Foundation.
More information is available online: loukoumifoundation.org.