By Bejay Browne
A FLOWER festival will be held in Paphos on Sunday in aid of more than 550 families in need.
The event is being organised by a group of local volunteers who have now officially registered as a charity with the name ‘Solidarity’.
Ongoing fundraising events are raising money, food and clothes to help the families who are not officially entitled to assistance as they fall outside municipal boundaries.
Pavlina Patsalou who heads up the group along with Paphos councillor George Sofokleous, have been feeding hundreds of Paphos families for 20 or so months. They started with 20 families, and now numbers are in excess of 550.
According to Patsalou, from about 3pm tomorrow, volunteer children will stick all of the flowers on the floats. Younger children must be accompanied by a parent, and twelve to seventeen year olds are welcome.
She said there would be many things to do at the event and although entry is free, there will be a charge of two or three euros to play each of the games. This will go towards helping to feed the needy families.
In addition, visitors are requested to bring with them donations of food and other items.
Traditional food, such as souvlakia will be served at the festival. There will also be hot dogs, doughnuts and crepes, as well as traditional music and dancing. There will also be horse and pony rides, clowns and face painting and municipal train rides.
“We have five hundred and fifty families from the Paphos villages coming to us for help, and the number is still growing on an almost daily basis,” said Patsalou. “We are seeing more and more young Cypriot couples in their early to mid twenties who have children and have lost their jobs. They are desperate and their families can’t help them as they don’t have jobs either. Most arrive at our doorstep on foot as they have no money for petrol to put in their cars, some don’t have electricity or telephones. The situation is terrible.”
She also estimates that by September the number of families they help will have risen to 700.
Although the charity says that donations have been coming in thick and fast, more is still needed.
“How can we raise enough money to feed more and more mouths? “ said Patsalou. “We urgently need everyone to give something, however small, It will make a real difference to someone’s life. It could so easily be any of us without food or any money to pay our bills and cover our day to day needs.”
The flower festival will run from 4pm to 8pm at the Municipal gardens.
For further information contact Pavlina Patsalou at 99220152 or George Sofokleous at 99542343