Food for Thought Blog

In the Community: KW Greek Festival

June 1st, 2019In the Community

In Greek culture, food is about more than nourishment, it’s about comfort, family and culture.

“Our (Greek) ethnicity is really defined around food,” said Tasos Stathopoulos, long-time KW Greek Festival volunteer, and past president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Saints Peter & Paul Church. “Food is part of everything we do in our faith and culture, in times of celebration, sorrow, mourning and even lent (there are some restrictions) we’re surrounded by food.”

Now in its 39th year, KW Greek Festival started as a fundraiser for the Greek Orthodox Community of Saints Peter & Paul Church. Over the years, the two-day festival has grown to be a much-anticipated celebration of the Greek culture and community in Waterloo Region.

Not only has KW Greek Festival grown to be the Church’s largest annual fundraiser but the event also supports the great community. Since 2010, KW Greek Festival has accepted non-perishable food donations as admission in support of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. To date, the festival has provided 30,732 meals to those in Waterloo Region accessing hunger relief supports, such as emergency food and community meal programs.

In this business profile, we sit down with Tasos and chat with him about the annual event, supporting The Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the role food plays in our lives.

The Food Bank of Waterloo Region (The Food Bank): Tell me a little bit about KW Greek Festival?

KW Greek Festival: It is the Greek Orthodox Community of Saints Peter & Paul Church largest fundraising event of the year. We are 100% supported by our parishioners. This is our 39th year and it is an opportunity for us to celebrate and share Greek culture, community and food.

The Food Bank: Why is it important, as an organization, to give back to the community?

KW Greek Festival: It is part of our guiding principles. We are a Christian Church and we are guided by our faith to give back. In doing so, we are able to promote our ethnic heritage and share it with the community-at-large.

The Food Bank: What does it mean to your organization to be able to give back so generously to the charitable and non-profit organizations in Waterloo Region?

KW Greek Festival:Every volunteer of our Church, every parishioner of our Church is a resident of Waterloo Region. Indirectly and directly we are supporting the community-at-large, in which every one of our parishioners lives and operates. We support many local charitable and non-profit organizations, such as Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital, Women’s shelters and The Food Bank. Directly and indirectly we are supporting our neighbours in this community.

The Food Bank: How does KW Greek Festival support The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

KW Greek Festival: Since 2010, The Food Bank has been our charitable partner. Every year, we collect non-perishable food donations as an admission to the festival. There is an admission to attend KW Greek Fest; however, if you donate a non-perishable food donation at the gate, you can bypass the admission.

The Food Bank: Why do you support The Food Bank of Waterloo Region?

KW Greek Festival: You can do without a lot of material things in life but going without food destroys a person. Going hungry is probably the worst feeling in the world. See how a child reacts when they miss a meal; imagine when someone has missed a meal for a number of days. I believe that is very relatable, everyone can relate to what it feels like to be hungry. And in this community itself, that is so affluent, has two universities and multiple multi-million dollar businesses, what an unfortunate reality that 34,000+ people (40% being children) go without food. If that doesn’t hit you…

KW Greek Festival takes place on June 8-9, 2019 at Greek Orthodox Community of Sts. Peter & Paul Church. If you are interested in learning more about this fantastic event or would like to attend, please visit www.kwgreekfest.com.