Wednesday, 14 October 2015 15:09

Greek community hosting annual fundraiser to support health care

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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The Greek Orthodox community in Swift Current is hosting their annual fundraiser again to support health care.

The 17th annual Night out in Greece dinner and dance takes place at the Swift Current Legion Hall, Oct. 24.
Pete Tsougrianis, who is a founding member of the event, said they have raised more than $700,000 for the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation since 1998.
“The Swift Current Greek community, being that we own businesses in the area and we have a restaurant, wanted to give back to the community since they supported our businesses,” he explained. “We thought why not give back to something that’s beneficial and we’re all using, and that’s health care.”
The event has been successful right from the start, as people are able to enjoy a night out while savouring authentic Greek cuisine and culture.
“It’s just one of those nights to go out and let your hair down and have a good time,” he said.
The event was something new and different when it started, and people were eager to be part of it.
“When we first did it, it was perceived as the elite thing to do to go to the Greek night,” he recalled. “All the big dignitaries wanted to come out to it. Now it’s more into the mainstream and more younger people come out.”
There were not so many other events to attend in the city when Night out in Greece started, which added to its popularity.
“It gets people in the community that don’t have a reason to dress up and go out,” he said. “Now there’s more activities in Swift Current to do that with.”
However, Night out in Greece has remained a popular event in Swift Current and tickets will usually sell out every year.
The Greek Orthodox community in Swift Current consists of about nine families. The community comes together in a collective effort to host the event.
“All the mothers make food for the event, because they make desserts, they make food items for supper,” he said. “It’s just a community thing where everybody pitches in and we get it done. Cleaning up is another big part of the event, because there’s usually a big mess when the event is over.”
In addition to the Greek cuisine, there will be musical and cultural entertainment at the event.
George Tsougrianis, a member of the local Greek community, and his band will play Greek music. Popular local band Rib Rash with Brad Gross will also perform.
“He has a big following,” Pete said. “So we have him for entertainment this year, it’s something different.”
The event will cater for a variety of musical tastes by having DJ Paul Wong there to play Top 40 music.
“Paul’s done deejaying since day one,” he said. “He comes from out of town and plays Top 40 music. So we’ll have a variety of genres from the Greek music to the local music to Top 40 music.”
The event’s cultural theme will be highlighted through two other activities during the evening. Audience members will be able to participate in traditional winemaking and the Greek tradition of breaking plates will also take place.
“That’s something that’s kind of unique too,” he said. “It’s basically to show happiness. It’s called the zeibekiko dance. It’s a single person that will go in the middle of the dance floor. They dance and they play the bouzouki and then they start breaking dishes.”
There will be silent and live auctions during the evening as well as a balloon raffle, with proceeds benefiting the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation.
“We like to thank the community for their support,” he said. “Without their support we wouldn’t be able to achieve all of this, all of the equipment that we’ve purchased through the Foundation.”
The funds raised from the initial Night out in Greece was used to purchase the first ever dialysis machine for use in Swift Current. Since then, the funds from this event have been used to purchase a variety of medical equipment, including beds, monitors, diagnostic equipment and Broda chairs.
Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation Executive Director Clay Thompson is very appreciative of the Greek community’s support for health care.
“They’ve been huge contributors,” he said. “Last year, it was some prostate cancer biopsy equipment.”
The Foundation has recognized the community’s contribution by including Night out in Greece in a recognition wall in the atrium of the Cypress Regional Hospital.
“We put a plaque up on the wall several years ago that took them to our philanthropy club,” he said. “That’s minimum accumulated contributions of $250,000 and above. So how important is the Night out in Greece to us? Extremely important.”
The Foundation has recently launched the largest fundraising campaign in its history to raise around $8 million to fully equip the new long-term care facility in Swift Current. The first $25,000 from this year’s Night out in Greece will be used to equip one room in the new long-term care facility.
The remaining funds above that amount from the event will most likely be used to purchase medical equipment for the Cypress Regional Hospital.
“What we started doing with the Greek community about four years ago is, we suggest some ideas but we also share the equipment list,” Thompson said. “They like to be hands-on on what the money is used for and we certainly don’t have a problem with that.”
There are still tickets available for this year’s Night out in Greece. Tickets are $100 each or $1,000 for a table of 10.
“If people haven’t gone before and would like to attend and see what all the buzz has been about all these year, give our office a call and we can get some tickets for them,” he said.
Tickets are available from the Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation at 306-778-3314 or people can also approach members of the Greek community in Swift Current to obtain tickets.

Read 8680 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 October 2015 04:58