An Athens pre-Christmas "special" : help for those in need

I am taking some time off from my Athens center walks this week, to present to you something perhaps more "substantial". Greece has been hit from a severe financial crisis in the past few years (no news there) and more people than ever have been left in a situation of need. No matter what you think about the politics behind this situation and of the Greek population's and government's response to it (and I'd have a lot to say myself...) the hard truth is that there are people who are in need. Like in real -no food on the table, no roof over their head- type of need.

Below you will find some well-known, established charities / organizations whose budgets are currently over-stretched and should need every Dollar, Euro or Pound of support that you may give them. Whether you're planning for a vacation to Greece or not this year, consider making a small donation to the extent your finances allow. (Disclaimer: I simply provide the links to these organizations' websites as a public service. I have no financial or other connection to them and I have not even contacted them for writing this. This is all public information that I am bringing together under one post).

Hamogelo tou Paidiou ("The Smile of the Child"): This is a well-established NGO that works in cooperation with state authorities and serves children in need. It provides housing and other forms of support for children that are either neglected or abused, it acts as a center for the "Amber Alert" service for missing children, it provides social services and psychological support for children with serious health problems, it operates a helpline, it provides material support (foodstuff, school supplies, etc.) for families with children. Checking out the statistics in their website (only in Greek) I see that the number of families served has more than doubled from 2009 to 2014.
Go to the bottom of this page and check out the 4 options they provide for making donations from abroad (via bank deposit (in Greek), via credit card (in Greek), via PayPal, sending a cheque). Also, if you can read their E-shop (for the moment only in Greek) they provide a range of options for Christmas gifts that you might want to check out.

dicins du Monde (Doctors of the World) - Greece: It's the Greek affiliate of an international network of medical, humanitarian, non-governmental organizations. They provide health and social services, in Greece and abroad (currently Uganda) including polyclinics in 5 Greek cities, focusing on youth, racist attack victims, immigrants, Roma, poor populations and overall groups that tend to be in higher need than the average population and who may be left out of the official health system.
If you go to this page (in English), you'll see two options to donate in the right hand column, including via PayPal.
Médicins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Frontiers) - Greece: Again, it's the Greek affiliate of an international network of medical, humanitarian, non-governmental organizations. More of their work is focused in international missions but they also provide health and social services in Greece, to people that are most in need. If you come to Greece you may find their red-colored "pills for others' pain" in most pharmacies throughout Greece (check-out the map of pharmacies here). They are an easy, hassle-free vehicle for supporting their work as 1 Euro out of every pack (1.60€) of these sugar-free, honey-thyme pills goes to support MSF's work. If you visit the English section of their website, you'll see a "Donate" link at the top navigation panel, that allows you to donate via PayPal.

SOS Children's Villages - Greece: Operating in Greece since 1977, they provide abandoned, orphaned and destitute children with a new and permanent home, in a setting that mimics that of a regular family and not an "institution". This page provides a brief description of their actions and philosophy. At the bottom you will find their bank accounts (in Euro and USD) for bank donations, as well as a link for making online donations (via either Credit / Debit Card or PayPal (one time or monthly recurring payment).

Boroume! (We Can!): It's "a non-profit organisation that fights food waste by organizing the distribution of surplus food for charity throughout Greece." Their list of sponsors should serve as a guarantee of the quality of their work. You can also help from abroad by making an online donation.

I'm sure there are many more charities and networks of people doing equally good work, but the organizations above are long standing ones, that have established a solid reputation and where your donations are guaranteed to make a difference in somebody's life.

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Images from Kolokotroni Street, in Athens city center

Staying with the Athens city center motif in this post, with pictures from one of the main, narrow streets passing through the maze of the "historic triangle" of Athens with a West-to-East direction. Kolokotroni Street is named after Theodoros Kolokotronis, one of the main heroes of the Greek war of independence of 1821-29, who happened to leave in a house on this street (Kolokotroni St. & Lekka St.) towards the end of his life.

Just like its quasi-parallel "Karageorgi Servias / Perikleous / Athinaidos / Agias Irinis" Street (see previous posts), this is a street dominated by textile shops and small eateries. Together with the rest of the "historic triangle" (see a map of Athens neighborhoods here), it has gone through a relative renaissance in the past 4 years, turning from a dangerous place to pass though after sunset, to somewhat of a nightlife (and daytime) hub. To get a feel of this area see the photos and read the legends below them. Enjoy!

Bobbins and textile reels behind a shop window; Kolokotroni St., Athens, Greece

Tie store; Kolokotroni St., Athens, Greece

Fabric rolls, at 58 Kolokotroni St. & Nikiou St., Athens, Greece

Cars moving up at Kolokotroni St, during an August noon; Athens, Greece

Orange juice machine and various snacks, in one of the many small eateries dotting Kolokotroni St. in Athens, Greece

A blackboard for a traditional coffee-shop / mezedopoleio, at Kolokotroni St.,...

...leads you into this cool and peaceful little arcade, and the entrance stairs of a building.

Barley Cargo, a beer pub that has been around since 2012,  at the corner of Kolokotroni & Karytsi streets; Athens, Greece.

Another entrance to a secret spot, with some hidden stores offering...

...coffees, drinks, hot dogs, music and second-hand clothes, harmoniously hanging in there.

Last but not least, the rear side of the Old Parliament Building, at the corner of Kolokotroni & Stadiou Streets; Athens, Greece

The back entrance of the Old Parliament Building (1875-1935), now hosting the National Historical Museum; Athens, Greece

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