Last Update: 14:24
(Maria Makrogianni second from right)
There is a restaurant on Roditses beach of Samos island that has become a haven for refugees, thanks to owner Maria Makrogianni and her husband who always have some food ready for their hungry fellow men.
Every night, “Maria” is full of people, but not full of customers. The people on the tables are hungry refugees who see Maria as their loving mother who is always willing to cater to their needs with a warm smile.
For over a year now, 59-year-old Maria and her husband Michalis offer free plates of food to refugees, migrants and everyone who is needy. She plays Greek music so that the refugees can dance and sing. She wants to give them joy, and especially to the children.
So far she has given thousands of free meals and she is willing to offer thousands more as migrants keep arriving on the island’s shores. She says that it is compassion and humanity that drives her to keep giving.
“Many nights I cannot sleep. When you listen to their stories of suffering, you cannot help being moved. Their stories shock me. Their houses are bombed and they have experienced a lot of pain,” Maria told Ethnos newspaper.
“Our faith tells us to feed them. Our humanity tells us to do what we can to help,” she said.
The Samos municipality has awarded Maria Markogianni for her charity work. However, she said, her real reward is the love she receives from the people she helps.