By Bejay Browne
THE ELECTRICITY Authority of Cyprus (EAC) is teaming up with a Paphos charity to help raise funds for needy families.
Soteria Zenonos, heads up the Paphos branch of the EAC’s cultural association and says that employees wanted to do something to help the registered charity. Solidarity is helping to feed hundreds of individuals and families in the district; without this help many would starve.
“We wanted to support the work which Solidarity is doing for so many people who are facing bad times in Cyprus. We want to try to help in some way and if this is a successful event, we will organise one every year,” Zenonos told the Cyprus Mail.
The charity fair and food drive titled a ‘Day of giving’ will be held outside the Archaeological Park in Kato Paphos between 4pm-10pm on Saturday.
Zenonos said: “We would like everyone to come. Employees from our cultural society will perform traditional Greek and Cypriot dances, our choir will sing, as will employee’s children.”
The first part of the event is a children’s festival which will run from 4pm-7pm and includes rides on the municipality train, face painting, bouncy castles and balloon making. There will also be a children’s fashion show.
Solidarity was set up in 2012 and helps all those in need, of any nationality or background.
The charity is currently feeding in excess of 900 families in the district, providing them with the basic essentials and whatever other food is donated.
Unemployment numbers in Paphos are soaring and many are now turning to churches, associations and charities such as Solidarity to eat. Without this support they would go hungry.
The Paphos based charity also goes out of its way to help individuals and families who don’t meet the criteria for aid from the social welfare department.
Pavlina Patsalou heads up the Paphos based charity along with George Sofokleous.
She said: “The numbers of people coming to us for help is still growing and so we are always trying to raise funds to keep up with the demand. We are very grateful to the EAC employees for their help.”
Patsalou said that people will be able to help the charity by bringing donations and food to the event.
‘We especially need powdered baby milk, nappies and baby rusks. Yesterday four families came to us for help as they didn’t have any milk for their babies. We were able to help by using points from our Papantoniou supermarket card.”
Solidarity has a dedicated supermarket point’s card to which shoppers can donate their bonus points. These points are currently being cashed in by the charity to purchase items for babies, said Patsalou.
In the last couple of weeks, Solidarity has also been able to find temporary work for 22 unemployed men and women. This is helping to give them some self respect; a little money in their pockets and a feeling of usefulness again,” said Patsalou.
“We are appealing to anyone who has work to offer in the villages or the town. It could be agricultural work as some of the people are already doing, such as collecting potatoes or melons. Cleaning gardens, houses or swimming pools, ironing, painting or any sort handyman jobs.”
Patsalou said that many families are facing dire situations. Some have children to look after and no electricity or water. “They don’t even have one euro in their pocket. They obviously can’t put petrol in their cars to come and collect food, so they send friends or we try to deliver it.”
The charity’s main distribution day is Thursday, when the bulk of families are handed food packets. Others get food parcels when in need.
Patsalou warned that if numbers continue to grow, supplies would have to be cut to the bare minimum.
“We will only be able to give just enough to keep people alive; we are doing the job of the government.”
In addition, the charity is collecting unwanted plastic bottles which they donate to Paphos general hospital in exchange for wheelchairs. According to Patsalou, the hospital sends the bottles on to a recycling plant.
Each 100,000 bottles equates to a wheelchair, so far they have managed to obtain four.
“I gave one to a Cypriot man a few days ago; who was crying as he had been trying to find a wheelchair for years and no one would help him.”
Charity Fair- ‘Day of Giving’ at Kato Paphos archaeological site on Saturday June 14 4pm-10pm.
Donations may be taken to the event or to Patsalous’ children’s clothing shop, any of the drop-off points listed on the website www.solidaritypaphos.com , or the Solidarity house in Paphos with prior arrangement.
For further information or to help, call Pavlina Patsalou on 99220152.