<p><strong>Owner Alexandra Serpanos takes an order over the telephone at Nikos Gyros on Monday, Jan. 21. Photo by Ellena Bowen</strong></p>
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Owner Alexandra Serpanos takes an order over the telephone at Nikos Gyros on Monday, Jan. 21. Photo by Ellena Bowen


Nikos Gyros will serve a Greek-inspired brunch this Sunday, Jan. 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and donating all of the profits to charity. It is the first event in the local eatery’s “12 Months, 12 Causes” program, for which it will open its doors one Sunday a month to raise money for various nonprofit organizations.

Recipient of this Sunday’s proceeds will be The Moyer Foundation’s Camp Erin, a free bereavement camp for adolescents who are grieving the death of someone close to them. 

Sunday’s menu will feature Greek twists on classic breakfast dishes. Breakfast gyros, Greek yogurt with orange blossom honey and French toast made with pita bread are among the planned specialty items. Owner Alexandra Serpanos described the deep-fried “Greek toast” as a cross between French toast and the carnival-treat elephant ears. A portion of the regular menu will also be available. 

 

The meaning of ‘charity’

Typically closed on Sundays, Serpanos developed the event as a way to help the restaurant give back to the community. Those working that day are all volunteering their time. 

“It would be easy to write a check out,” Serpanos said. “I wanted it to be a little bit more. And I wanted it to be more involving, getting the staff or even some customers to donate their time to somebody outside yourself and your personal gain.” 

Serpanos chose The Moyer Foundation’s Camp Erin because she started volunteering there more than five years ago. 

“It helped me,” Serpanos said, “and probably helped me more than them, you know, donating my time.”

Referencing the word “philanthropy,” which means “love of man” in Greek, Serpanos is a big believer in charity. 

“People think they need more and more and more,” she said. “Why not just give more? It makes you feel better, and it touches other people, and it’s an example for your kids and your neighbors. It’s kind of like backtracking and getting down to the basics of what’s really important. I think we’ve kind of lost the true meaning of what it’s all about. I think the more generous you are, the more generous life is back to you. It’s simple.”

 

Helping neighbors

The Moyer Foundation’s Seattle office is located just down the street from Nikos Gyros (2231 32nd Ave. W.), making this Sunday even more of a community event. 

“Nikos Gyros has been a fabulous neighbor of ours,” said Amy Hooey, development manager at The Moyer Foundation. “And we’re extremely happy to help them kick off this year of giving. It’s very exciting for them, especially since they’re never open on Sundays.”

Hooey said partner events are a rewarding way for The Moyer Foundation to get the local community involved. 

“Honestly, they’re some of the most fun things we do every year,” she said. “And we try to be as involved as possible, especially in the local events, and we’re so grateful for people thinking of us in the community.” 

Collaborating with Nikos Gyros allows those in the Magnolia neighborhood to get to know the foundation better, Hooey said. A representative from The Moyer Foundation is slated to be at the event on Sunday to answer any questions customers might have. 

“They’re very much beloved in the community,” Hooey said. “And it’ll be a nice way to reach out to some of our residents in Magnolia.”

 

Caring for the community

With the staff being made up of mainly family members on Sunday, Nikos Gyros is thankful for any volunteers who would like to help out at the event.

“When Alex started talking about it at the end of last year, I was like, all right, well sign me up, I’ll help out,” said Brian Gaiter, an employee at Nikos Gyros. “We’re doing more for people who don’t have much.”

Other nonprofits that Nikos Gyros is considering donating its Sunday-breakfast proceeds to include Jubilee Women’s Center, Children’s Home Society and The Mockingbird Society. 

“In the beginning, I was focusing on doing things more for children,” Serpanos said, “children who don’t have a voice or are in pain. It just means so much to me.… But there are other things that people care about in the community.”

Another organization Serpanos is finalizing plans with is the Greek America Foundation’s “Project Hope for Greece.” The nationwide initiative is made up of grassroots-style fund-raising events across the United States. Funds raised will support charities and organizations in Greece aimed at improving social conditions. 

Serpanos expects the rest of the nonprofit beneficiaries to be decided month by month. She added, “I’m open to suggestions.” 

To learn about The Moyer Foundation’s Camp Erin, visit www.moyerfoundation.org/programs/CampErin.aspx. 

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