STAMFORD, Conn. -- Its a long way from Armonk, N.Y. to Lesvos, Greece but for one local family, the connection runs deep.
The Livanos family, owners of City Limits in Stamford, Conn. and White Plains, along with Armonk's Moderne Barn, and two restaurants in Manhattan (Molyvos and Oceana) have deep ties to that area and so have been quietly doing their part to support their fellow Greek citizens both with monetary donations and donated clothing.
On Thursday, Sept. 29, they will go one step further by hosting an evening of appreciation and support at Moderne Barn to help raise funds for the Afya Foundation (AFYA), a nonprofit that provides healthcare support to communities across the globe, including the citizens of Lesvos who have generously embraced and cared for thousands of refugees.
According to Nick Livanos, Proprietor of Moderne Barn, his father, John, who started the Livanos Family Restaurant Group 59 years ago, is from the island of Lesvos and still has it ancestral home in the village of Molyvos.
"It's my father's grandmother's house and we visit it every summer," said Nick, who, along with the rest of his family, now lives in Armonk. "The refugees that enter Europe through our island remind us of how many of the residents came to Greece and the island of Lesvos 95 to 100 years ago. They fled Asia Minor, present day Turkey, due to persecution that took place at that time. That's how my grandparents and great grandparents came."
"Equally as important," he stressed, "are the Greek residents and the local economy, both of which are suffering due to Greece's economic crisis compounded by depleted tourism, which is down 80 to 90 percent and which the island is highly dependent on.
"On top of all that, the one and only hospital on the island is depleted of all the basic supplies necessary," he stressed."This is the main focus of the AFYA event, to help replenish the hospital. This helps everyone -- both the locals who are dependent on the hospital and the refugees who need medical assistance."
The reception-style ticketed affair, to be held Thursday, Sept. 29, will feature an open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres by Chef Ethan Kostbar, live Greek music, live and silent auctions, and brief presentations from Nick and Danielle Butin, executive director of Afya.
Reservations are requested by Monday, Sept. 19 and can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Limited tickets are available for same-day purchase at the door via credit card or check.
Ticket price is $250 per person and the event goes from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.