Philia Kambitsis has received a prestigious national medal within the Greek Orthodox Church for her tireless work volunteering and helping the homeless for the past 60 years. Picture: Roger Wyman Source: News Corp Australia
CHARITY is literally a way of life for Philia Kambitsis.
When she met a homeless man, she gave him shelter in her own home – and he stayed for 32 years.
But that’s only one of Mrs Kambitsis’ countless selfless generosities over 60 years and her huge heart has been recognised in a community award.
The Blackwood woman was awarded the inaugural Medal of Honour for Outstanding Philanthropic and Volunteering Support in Australia, through the Holy Orthodox Metropolis of Australia and Oceania.
She said she was “honoured and humbled” to receive the award from the Australian Greek Orthodox community.
Mrs Kambitsis has organised many fundraising events and has recently celebrated the funding and building of a church for the elderly at the Ridleyton Greek Home for the Aged, but her will to help others extends far beyond the generosity of the average volunteer.
After meeting a homeless man on the street, he lived in her home for 32 years until the day he died.
“I gave him a room at the back of the house and a bathroom, I didn’t know him, he was just a stranger to me,” she said. “He was a man off the street, but he became part of the family.”
Mrs Kambitsis also bought a Centennial Park plot for the man and saw that he had the Anglican funeral service he had wanted.
She is proud of the Ridleyton church.
“We have this church which is for the benefit of 120 residents,” she said. “They have a service every week and they can have communion there. It’s a very necessary thing.
“It’s at the latest part of their lives. They have a church that they can go to and pray and prepare themselves for a life thereafter.”
Mrs Kambitsis has also recently helped a church minister find a home after he lost his job.
“He has a unit which I pay rent for,” she said.
“He was employed by the Greek Orthodox community and he helped me finish the church at the aged home. That’s how I met him.”
Mrs Kambitsis said she owed her kind nature to her mother and grandmother.
“It gave them pleasure to help others and I think I’ve had that streak through me,” she said. “I’m forever doing something for someone (because) there are lots of people that need help.”
She encouraged people to help others where they could.
“I like to know that young people give some thought to elderly people and act kindly towards them and give them consideration,” she said.
“I think its very important to help one another.”