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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 March 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 MARCH 2016 5 NEWS Ithacan Society celebrates a 100-year milestone Melbourne’s Ithacan Philanthropic Society paid tribute to its late founder Antonios Lekatsas Celebrations kicked off on Sunday for the Ithacan Philanthropic Society 'The Ulysses' centenary, with a ceremony paying tribute to the efforts of those who have kept the organisation alive and thriving. The event, dedicated to the life and achievements of founder Antonios Lekatsas, saw medals awarded to past presidents, many of which were collected by their offspring. The society was founded in October 1916, when a group of Ithacan entrepreneurs, headed by Mr Lekatsas, decided to find a practical way to support their compatriots back home on the island of Ithaca, while assisting newcomers in their struggle to adjust Down Under. The organisation went on to make a number of positive contributions, thanks to its tireless philanthropy and charity work. Taking centre stage at Sunday's event was master of ceremonies, journalist Angela Pippos, who helped ensure the day ran seamlessly. Those gathered were treated to an exhibition curated by architect Andreas Raftopoulos, along with a documentary dedicated to the life of Mr Lekatsas titled Out of the Earth - The Life and Times of A JJ Lucas. Enacted by actor and artistic photographer Antonios Baxevanidis, the film successfully captured ear- ly 20th century Melbourne and the late founder's love for his island home. Thanks to current president Anthony Dracopoulos, who has been a part of the organisation for three decades, the society has managed to evolve and change with the times. It was under his guidance that women were first granted the opportunity to play a greater role and take part in elections; but he acknowledges that even greater changes are required to engage younger generations. Though he admits that youth involvement isn't at a desired level, he is optimistic about the future. "Let us not forget that we only need one person to light the torch and the others will follow. It's just a matter of time, and from what we have seen, it won't be long," said Mr Dracopoulos. "We try to understand the needs of young people so as to create the appropriate conditions for their involvement." Secretary General and former president Panos Paxinos agrees. "The needs of the younger generations are far different and this is a general phenomenon and a challenge affecting most community organisations, especially the older ones," he said. "In our experience, we've found it difficult to attract L-R: General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad Michael Kokkinos; president of the Greek Community of Melbourne Bill Papastergiadis; president of the Philanthropic Ithacan Society ‘The Ulysses’, Anthony Dracopoulos; Greek Ambassador Ekaterini Xagorari; Consul General of Greece to Melbourne, Christina Simantiraki; Nick Varigos. people from the third generation onward, except when it comes to excursions." On the society's last trip to Ferny Creek last month, there were more than 800 people of all ages in attendance. Constantly looking to stay current, the president says the society is looking to branch out and take part in larger projects in conjunction with Melbourne's Greek Community. "Our future goals are to operate according to the new needs of our members, while expanding the reach of our charity work to the wider Australian community," said Mr Dracopoulos. Above all, however, the organisation is proud of its Members of the organisation awarded for their outstanding contributions to the society. members and their continued efforts and contributions over the last 100 years. Among those gathered on Sunday were more than 20 of Mr Lekatsas' descendants, PHOTOS: KOSTAS DEVES. who travelled from all parts of Australia to take part in the ceremony. Urge to cut food waste Shepparton pear grower Jimmy Kalafatis. PHOTO: WEEKLY TIMES NOW. Hail storms in Goulburn Valley have seen the region's pear crops damaged, but Woolworths have decided to sell the fruit anyway. The decision by the supermarket giant is part of a move to cut food waste, selling the fruit across Victoria, NSW and Queensland through its discounted Odd Bunch range. In an interview with Weekly Times Now, Shepparton pear grower Jimmy Kalafatis said the damage to the fruit was caused by two storms late last year, affecting 20 to 30 per cent of the Goulburn Valley pear crop. But he assures buyers that despite aesthetics, the fruit that goes on to be sold in su- permarkets is still top quality. "Consumers will notice slight indentations on the pears but it is purely cosmetic. The eating quality and taste is the same," said Mr Kalafatis. "Otherwise they would have automatically gone to processing for juice, which is the bottom of the food chain for farmers."
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