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Athens Pizza and Pasta to cook up Thanksgiving dinners for the community

Ready to serve: Nina Contoravdis, Bill Contoravdis, Effie Contoravdis, Father John Contoravdis, Randy Simon of Barbers Against Hunger and Tom Contorvadis. - Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter
Ready to serve: Nina Contoravdis, Bill Contoravdis, Effie Contoravdis, Father John Contoravdis, Randy Simon of Barbers Against Hunger and Tom Contorvadis.
— image credit: Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter

Their grinders are such stuff as gustatory dreams are made on.

They know just about everything there is to know about baking great pizza pies and concocting succulent pasta dishes.

And for the second year brothers Bill and Tom Contoravdis, owners of Athens Pizza and Pasta at 959 E. Main Street, are preparing to cook up and serve, not pasta, but lots of good old American Thanksgiving dinners for people who might otherwise go without.

"It's going to be right here on Thanksgiving, Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and we're going to serve our traditional Thanksgiving meal: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, roll and pumpkin pie," Bill said. "It's free for anyone who wants to come. "

"We're the sons of a Greek Orthodox minister," Bill added, "and he taught us about the importance of giving back to the community that has supported us all these years."

Once again, the Auburn eatery is working with Barbers Against Hunger, a group of generous men headquartered in the Valley Barber shop west of the Justice Center. What unites the members of this six-year-old organization is that none of them can keep still when need rages in the community. Its yearly calendar starts in May with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Juvenile Diabetes Walk, continues with car washing and ends with a coat drive in December in the parking lot between the Valley Barber Shop and the Justice Center.

Their job in the present push is to get the word out.

Bill decided in 2012 after years of thinking about it that he wanted to host an annual Thanksgiving Day feed. Problem was that neither he nor his brother knew anything about promoting such an event.

Luckily the restaurateurs and the Barbers Against Hunger already knew each other. Athens Pizza and Pasta had in the past allowed the group to post fliers for its annual food drive there. The restaurant also set aside one Sunday during the drive to donate 20 percent of its receipts to Barbers to support that group's good works.

"Last year was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing, it was a little hectic," Bill said. "This year people are kind of expecting it. Donations are coming in through the roof, meeting our expectations. Whatever we have left over we're going to donate to the Auburn Food Bank so they can stock up their shelves for the holidays."

Alex Green, an Air Force veteran, a carpenter and a member of Barbers Against Hunger, recently explained the hopes of everyone concerned.

"We'd like to grow this thing until it's too big for the Athens Pizza shop," Green said.

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