This Memorial Day weekend seems to mark not just the traditional start of summer, but also the gradual ending of our stay-at-home life of these past couple of months...and what a couple of months it's been.
We've been very fortunate here at Zelos. Besides holding on to our health and loved ones, as an online food business we had a surge in sales that I have to admit caught even me off guard! But perhaps most fulfilling was seeing how we were able to experience a sense of community like never before.
The first weeks saw us scrambling to fill new orders and wondering if our container from Greece would arrive in time to replenish the warehouse. We tried to help with donations to the St Vincent de Paul food bank and a special food drives organized for restaurant workers here in Cincinnati with the Lee Initiative.
We also became part of many special human stories of love through food that truly warmed our hearts. I wanted to share three of these stories that especially made me feel honored to have been entrusted with such special moments.
Our friend Sarah emailed us with a special request: her in-laws were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and had planned a trip to Greece for the occasion, since her mother-in-law is half-Greek. It would've been their first visit ever to Greece and they were really looking forward to it...until COVID happened. Sarah asked if we could prepare a gift box for them that would help create part of this missed experience. She chose all the items she felt would be just right for them and we boxed everything with love and care, adding a hand-written note with their kids' wishes. This was such a beautiful gesture...and daughter-in-laws often get a bad rap in Greek popular culture!
Maddie and Chuck were going to Greece for their honeymoon this summer, but the pandemic cancelled their plans. Their friend Diana sent them a gift box with a very sweet card to substitute for their lost Greek Island experience. In fact, we had several gift boxes sent out for cancelled bridesmaids and wedding celebrations, missed trips and housewarming parties. I hope that our Greek love through food can help these new couples start out on a positive note, despite the crazy times.
I kept the best story for the end because it is the one I cherish the most. Amanda got in touch with us because she was organizing goodie bags for the residents of Yale's anesthesiology department. As she told us, these residents were working so many hours and had very little time to even shop for themselves, let alone find healthy food, and she asked if we had any food to donate. We sent them some of Tragano Greek Organics green olives to snack on and Sparoza's herbal teas to hopefully help them unwind after what we could only imagine were exhausting shifts. They thanked us with a collage with all of their young, smiling faces posing with jars of olives and this letter:
Thank you so much for your generous gift. The Yale Anesthesiology residents absolutely love it! Receiving the olives and wonderful tea warmed our hearts and made us feel so appreciated for all of our hard work.
Instead of taking a group photo, the majority of us elected to share a collage of socially distanced selfies to display our gratitude.
Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!
With bliss and gratitude,
I can't tell you how moved I was that they could even find the time to do this in the midst of their crazy days. Their energy and appreciation really gave me hope and optimism. Yes, this pandemic upended our lives and we need to get used to doing things a bit differently, but in many ways it also brought us together as a community and I personally hope it will continue to do so. In the meantime, we'll keep sending a little extra bit of Greek love with every box we mail ❤️
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