Source: The National Herald
By Theodore Kalmoukos
BOSTON, MA – An effort started some six years ago by Dr. Maria Koulmanda, a prominent physician, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School in the fields of children’s diabetes and transplantation, has developed into an officially-recognized nonprofit organization. “Agape and Elpida,” which stands for “Love and Hope” 501 (c) (3) is the new philanthropic organization in Boston which gives “love and hope” to the heroes of this country, the U.S. Homeless Veterans of the Boston area. Its founding members besides Dr. Koulmanda are Themis Karpouzis and Angeliki Kalmoukos.
Koulmanda and some friends had started visiting Centers for Homeless Veterans in Boston monthly, and provided them with a high-quality meal, which they also served. When the small Centers for Homeless Veterans closed, Koulmanda and her friends continue their good gesture by visiting every third Monday of each month the New England Center for Homeless Veterans at 17 Court Street in Boston.
Three years ago, the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Boston where Koulmanda is a member adopted her effort and named it among its ministries. A separate account was opened and various philanthropists members and nonmembers of the Cathedral contributed, so that the program would not to be a burden on the general coffers of the church. The program was self-sustaining. It cost approximately $350 each time.
Dr. Koulmanda chose the food personally; her friends-volunteers were prominent Harvard professor and physician Dr. Teri Stron, Themis Karpouzis, Angeliki Kalmoukos, Priscila Moscos, and, rarely some members of the Cathedral.
Koulmanda, Karpouzis, and Kalmoukos decided to form “Agape and Elpida” independently of the Cathedral and without any connection to it whatsoever, which will serve quality meal every second Monday of each month at the New England Veteran Center for Homeless. Koulmanda notified Cathedral officials in writing about this initiative and requested that her name be removed church bulletin announcements and from the Ministries Booklet.
Koulmanda told TNH that “I always wanted to establish a nonprofit philanthropic organization to help those fellow human beings who are in need. My dream has now become a reality with my dear friends Themis Karpouzis and Angeliki Kalmoukos. For years now, constantly and uninterruptedly, with complete dedication as one family, we quietly served every month at the Veteran’s Homeless Center and we will continue to do so from now on as an independent Organization of “Love and Hope” every second Monday of each month at 4:30PM.”
Koulmanda also said that “our organization is officially recognized by the IRS and any donation is tax deductible.” She emphasized that “whoever wishes and at any time may examine the account and our books, because for us even one dollar donated for philanthropic purposes is a sacred donation and the person who makes the donation should know exactly how it is spent.”
Koulmanda said that “we started the organization with funds that we contributed among ourselves as the founding group in order to cover the meals the first few months, and whoever wishes to contributes as much he or she wishes is welcomed and also to come and serve with us.” She added that “our desire is to provide these heroes who served America in combat and in the front lines with the best possible food and dessert without worrying whether the cost is 400 instead of 350 dollars. In the future we are going to assume other philanthropic endeavors here and in Greece. The key was to start.”
Contributions may be sent to: Agape and Elpida, Inc./111 Chestnut Street/Brookline, MA 02445.