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Tsafaridis family makes pledge to local health centre

CareGo president and CEO Demetrius Tsafaridis and his extended family have pledged $100,000 to support a health centre in a low-income neighbourhood in Hamilton.

“The Foti Tsafaridis 147 Fitness and Wellness Centre” is named for the late Foti (Fred) Tsafaridis, Demetrius’ father, who came to Canada from northern Greece in 1954 with $1.47 in his pocket, and died in 2011 at the age of 85.

At the centre’s official re-naming ceremony last month, Demetrius Tsafaridis said dedicating the centre to his father is a way of carrying out his legacy.  Though Foti’s first years in Canada were often difficult, “he never forgot how helpful people and organizations were to him,” Tsafaridis said. “At Christmas he’d stop at every Salvation Army stand and donate money into the bowl. He would tell the person ringing the bell how thankful he was for the countless meals he relied on in their soup kitchens in his early days in Toronto.”

The Tsafaridis family, including brothers George, Demetrius and Chris, and their children, has committed to raise $20,000 per year over five years for the health centre, which is located at the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre in the city’s north end. Three generations of the family were on hand for the re-naming ceremony.

Don MacVicar, founding chairman of the Eva Rothwell Resource Centre’s board of directors, said the family’s financial support will help them expand health programs and possibly attract a medical clinic to the site.