By Argyro Vourdoumpa.
On Tuesday, April 14, amid the coronavirus pandemic, a food truck was parked outside Riverland General Hospital in the little town of Berri, in South Australia, treating nurses and doctors to free Greek delicacies.
Lefteri Eleftheriadis, the owner of Lefty’s Greek Street Eatz, knows a thing or two about hurdles in life and the importance of solidarity and ‘filotimo’ in tough situations like the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Australia’s local communities and businesses hard.
“My father brought me up saying that if you can do something good for someone, don’t be afraid to do it. This is what I want to teach my kids as well,” Lefteri, 54, told The Greek Herald.
The son of immigrant parents from Katerini, Northern Greece, Lefteri was born in Australia and has lived in Berri, 238 kilometres northeast of Adelaide, his whole life.
“I am one of the lucky tradies. I can still go out and work. There are other people I know who are doing it very hard,” he says.
In a move to recognise and support his local hospital’s frontline workers who are also members of his community, Lefteri and his family came up with the idea to offer free meals.
“My wife, Christine, works in mental health and I know how much pressure frontline workers are under. I just wanted to put a smile on their faces. It might not be enough to take the pressure away but it’s a small, thank-you gesture.”
On that day, the Eleftheriadis family served more than 90 meals and the feedback was great.
“They were very appreciative, some wanted to pay me, others brought my kids chocolate Easter eggs to thank them,” said the Greek Australian food truck owner.
“We didn’t do it for credit or pats on the back. It was satisfying enough to just be able to do something. As I told my kids, I can’t heal anyone but I can cook. We can all contribute in some small way to make this world a better place.”
Asking him to share a message with Australia’s Greek community, Lefteri suggests we need to follow the government’s instructions and support each other when possible.
“This is the Greek thing to do. This is ‘filotimo’.”