The Manolis family gathered on Sunday to organize and load over 10,000 pounds of food from fresh and canned vegetables to cake mix and of course turkeys onto a truck to deliver to over two thousand impoverished families in the Greater Lowell area of Massachusetts as well as southern New Hampshire.
This is the 26th year the Dracut House of Pizza and Seafood Restaurant fed families for Thanksgiving since its first program, Project Helping Hands. They began with 25 families and it has grown to 2,500 families in two states. The pizzeria owner, Nick Manolis, then founded the Manolis Family Foundation in 2008 to continue this tradition.
“God has given us a lot, so we’re giving back. My mom had always taught me from very young, you give with one hand, God will give you with two,” Manolis said to The Lowell Sun. “So that’s what we do.”
Manolis came to the United States from Greece when he was 7 years old. His family couldn’t afford lunch throughout his childhood which inspired him to give back as soon as he became successful with the pizzeria.
“…There’s no better feeling (than) knowing that someone that came from that can come to where we are now,” said his son, Elias Manolis, who organized this year’s meal drive.
The Manolis Foundation works with local organizations like the Salvation Army, Veterans Affairs, and local law enforcement to identify families in need of a cheerful meal that can keep them fed with plenty of leftovers after.
With the son now in charge of the cause, it won’t be long before the pizzeria hits 30 and perhaps even 50 years of feeding families for Thanksgiving.