This formerly homeless man is preparing food to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic



Greece remains under lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

But what do 'stay-at-home' orders mean for the homeless and individuals who are in desperate need of food?

Dimitris Pantzartzidis, the owner of 'Stou Mitsou', a traditional cafe in Kapani, Thessaloniki, who also lived on the streets, is helping those who need it the most.

"I was touched by this situation because I used to go through a similar phase and my joy at being able to offer these things to people is something that is not paid for. Being under, getting up, standing and going to take care of these people is the most valuable thing that has happened to me in my life," Dimitris stated.

Everyday from Stou Mitsou's small kitchen, Dimitris with a group of volunteers prepare meals with ingredients provided by The Municipality of Thessaloniki.

"The effort was started in consultation with all the children in the cafe so that we can give a little love and care to the people on the street. We are people who have gone through this situation, we know how difficult it is to be on the street and now we feel very proud that we can offer these meals," Dimitris added.

The food distribution started on April 13, in collaboration with the Harris Aidonopoulos, Coordinator for Social Cohesion and Migration and Refugees in the Central Macedonia Region.

The meals were originally given out to the temporary homeless structures in Thessaloniki, however "the distribution has been extended to homeless people sleeping in various locations in the centre as well as to others who are unable to prepare a meal due to health problems and are unable to leave their homes," he continued.

Dimitris couldn't emphasis enough how much helping those in need, means to him. One of those people includes Mr. Antonis, who lives with his elderly wife and son in a two-story house in Ano Poli. With many health problems, the whole family is unable to leave the house and organise meals for themselves. The problem, was taken care by the group of volunteers. "We go outside their house every afternoon, Mr. Antonis throws us a hook from the balcony and we attach the bag with food and meals," Dimitris said.