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St. Louis Philoptochos Society, Chapter 2055
2013 - 2015 BOARD
|1st Vice President||Carol Kamburis|
|2nd Vice President||Christina Ginos|
|Recording Secretary||Leonora Taratsas|
|Corresponding Secretary||Betsy Murphy|
|Assistant Treasurer||Jenny Pappas|
|Nickoletta Antoniou||Johanna Spanos|
|Nikki Gertken||Cleo Tarlas|
|Teddy Hart||Jeanne Tompras|
|Marilynn Jemas||Ann Zotos|
|Maria Kamburis||Dianne Zotos|
The Board meets on the first Thursday of each month and the General meeting is usually held on the third Thursday of each month. That is subject to change because of religious Holidays or restaurant availability as we often meet outside of church.
Philanthropy in St. Louis
On Mother's Day - May 11, 1952 - the St. Nicholas Church General Assembly approved the establishment of our St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society, Chapter 291, St. Louis MO. About 1992, our St. Nicholas I.D. Number was changed to 2055 in order to coincide with our designated St. Nicholas Church Charter Number. This was deemed necessary because the National Philoptochos Society is the official philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Churches of America and Canada.
Our fledgling chapter thus began its philanthropic endeavors with 200 charter members, which from the start, have worked unceasingly to raise funds on behalf of the indigent as well as victims of disaster throughout the world. During the past 50 years, St. Nicholas Philoptochos have raised approximately $2,239,655 and dispensed $2,150,410. Today, our Philoptochos chapter has over 250 members who are dedicated to the Philoptochos mission of helping people in need.
In the early 1980's, the enlargement of our St. Nicholas Community Center kitchen and the addition of efficient ovens, additional refrigerators, room-size freezers, commercial dishwasher, storage rooms and storage racks added greater capacity for food preparation and substantially greater income. This led to the inclusion of two smaller-scale St. Nicholas activities - our annual family picnic and our annual Philoptochos Christmas bazaar - into an annual 3-day St. Nicholas Labor Day Greek Festival. With the consent of the St. Nicholas General Assembly, our Philoptochos became responsible for preparation of all foods and pastries for the Festival, and received one-third of the proceeds from the Festival. Since the Festival is an all-Parish effort, our Parish Assembly voted to apportion the Festival proceeds three ways: One third to the Parish General Fund, one third to thc Parish Capital Fund and one third to St. Nicholas Philoptochos. In 2000, our Parish Assembly voted to divide the proceeds four ways - with the fourth portion earmarked for the St. Nicholas Land Fund mortgage (on our newly purchased 10.5-acre tract in Town and Country).
Thanks to the dedication of our parishioners, the Greek Festival has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2001, our Festival gross dramatically grew which included a substantial sum of approximately 10% from our Philoptochos Auction. The Auction was held on an earlier date in order to allocate the proper planning time and effort needed to make it a huge success.
Our Philoptochos Society is a highly efficient organization with a Board of Directors, which is elected by the membership for a two-year term. The Board elects all officers. Our Philoptochos has many standing and ad hoc committees to handle day-to-day business matters as well as emergency situations such as disasters.
Every year, St, Nicholas Philoptochos dispenses financial assistance and hands-on support to more than 60 charities. Local charities include Bread of the World; Butterfield Youth Support; Camp Penuel; Children Shelter Care; Dollar Help (for poverty-level people unable to pay utility bills); Feed My People; Multiple Sclerosis Society; New Horizons Center; New Life Evangelistic Center; Peter and Paul Mental Health Program; Post-Dispatch 100 Neediest Cases; St. Louis Association for Retarded Citizens (SLARC); Salvation Army, and United Service Organization (USO).
Outreach programs have included Church Women United (Meals on Wheels); Hosea House; Meal a Month (Trinity Food Pantry); Peter and Paul Winter Shelter, and Saint Louis Children's Hospital.
Parish concerns include AHEPA Apartments and van; Campus Ministry (letters and spiritual items are sent to out-of-town college students); Church Scholarship Fund; Confidential Philanthropy (helping financially-distressed people); Ethiopian and Eretrian Refugee Assistance (includes job, food, furniture and clothing assistance); Fellowship Coffee Hour, funerals for the indigent; making koliva for memorial services; provide ministry to the sick and shut-ins; Sunday Church School Participation; supporting VIP’s (St. Nicholas senior adult club), and St. Nicholas youth groups. Metropolis commitments include Metropolitan Iakovos Scholarship Assistance Fund; Metropolitan's Task Force for Aids; Campus Youth Ministry; Federation of Greek Orthodox Church Choirs; Oratorical Festival, and Philanthropy Fund.
National and international commitments include Archdiocese Missions; Red Cross Blood Drives; Cardiac Fund; Children's Medical Fund; Church Women United; Ecumenical Patriarchate; Emergency Relief Funds; Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology; International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC); League of Greek Orthodox Stewards; National Forum for Greek Orthodox Musicians; Orthodox Campus Ministries; Orthodox Mission Center/Support a Priest; Patriarch Athenagoras National Institute Retreat Centers; Phos Mission; Saint Basil's Academy; Saint Photios Shrine; Social Services, and UNICEF.
As if the above activities were not enough to keep our members busy, St. Nicholas Philoptochos has hosted a myriad of exceptional fund-raisers including fashion shows; luncheons; dinners; several luncheon/ballet performances featuring the Alexandra Ballet Company; an operatic/Greek folk/American popular music concert featuring soprano Stella Zambalis; editing and publishing a cookbook “Adventures in Greek Cooking" and hosting a fabulous taste luncheon to introduce the book; bazaars; picnics; and assisting in preparation for the St. Nicholas Labor Day Weekend Greek Festival.
Our St. Nicholas Philoptochos may not be one of the largest and most active chapters in the United States, but it's the spirit and heartfelt dedication of each member that makes us stand proud and tall in our quest to bring a treasure of comfort and happiness into the lives of our fellow human beings - all God's children, under circumstances beyond anyone's control. One cannot help but ponder - "There, but for the grace of God, ..." Truly, our St. Nicholas Philoptochos embodies the Christian ideals of Philanthropy (giving), Philoxenia (hospitality), and Philotimia (honor) - added to our legendary St. Louis Friendliness.
St. Paul says it succinctly in I Corinthians, 14-40: "Let everything be done with propriety and with order."
Congratulations to all Philoptochos officers and members for continuing a wonderful tradition of philanthropy begun 50 years ago - and to all our supporters who helped make our sometimes impossible dreams come true!