Serving refugees in Athens in the name of Jesus
At Helping Hands, we strive to share the love of God in practical ways based on the example of Jesus Christ as expressed in the principles of the Holy Scriptures, God’s Word, making sure every person is “seen” and given access to food, freedom and forgiveness.
WHAT WE DO
Helping Hands is a Greek-registered non-profit, Humanitarian, Christian organisation including Greek and International volunteers whose purpose is to help meet the physical, social and spiritual needs of refugees and international minorities in the greater Athens area, regardless of their race, religion or nationality.
To bring people together to reveal Jesus to refugees by demonstrating and proclaiming the gospel, planting gospel seeds in the lives of refugees across greater Athens area that take root and bear the fruit of life transformation in Jesus Christ.
Helping Hands members come from different denominations but are united in the fundamental doctrines of the Holy Bible as they are summarized in the “Nicene Creed of Faith”.
1. I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
2. And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages. Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made.
3. For us and for our salvation, He came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary and became man.
4. He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and He suffered and was buried.
5. On the third day He rose according to the Scriptures.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will have no end.
8. And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets.
9. In one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
10. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
11. I expect the resurrection of the dead.
12. And the life of the age to come.
At the invitation of St. Andrew's International Church in Athens, Scott & Vicki McCracken left their mission in Austria to come to Greece as the directors of “International Teams” in Athens. Their vision was to share the Gospel (through proclamation and demonstration) with "the nations" that were gathered in Athens. In the early days that included primarily Eastern Europeans, Filipinos, and a few different African and Middle Eastern peoples. (In later years it would primarily focus on refugees from Islamic countries). Laying a foundation of prayer, discipleship and leadership training in various ethnic fellowships, the vision expanded to include the establishment of a Greek-registered non-profit.
In June of 1993, Helping Hands was established with a Greek board of directors and volunteers of various nationalities. Beginning with assisting various INDIVIDUAL refugees and immigrants to help meet their practical and spiritual needs, starting in 1995 a partnership with Hellenic Ministries serving a MEAL once a week from their facility on Evripidou, in 1997 renting our own floor of a building on Menandrou, and then finally owning and operating our own facility at Sofokleous 53D in Omonia. In 2016 another facility downtown was donated. Around the year 2000 Nikos Stefanides became the first full-time Greek director, serving faithfully until his retirement in 2019, sharing whole-heartedly the ministry of Helping Hands all over the world.
The current director (Kiki Dimitropoulou), the current board of directors, and the international/interorganizational team of missionaries continue to provide developing leadership and implementation of this strategic and powerful ministry God is using to reach the nations with the Gospel.
Helping Hands consists of a team of missionaries from different parts of the world, whose love for refugees brought them all to Athens. They support, in cooperation with the Board, daily programs in all aspects of care that we provide to our refugees.
At the moment, HELPING HANDS is administered by:
• A four-member Board of Directors which oversees the ministry. Its members are Greeks that are elected every two years.
• A Greek Director.
Director & Current Board of Directors - Elected January, 2022:
(In order from left to right)
Charis Kioulloglou . George Sochos . Kiki Dimitropoulou (Director) . Dimitris Boukis . James Papanagis
George Sochos holds a BA in Drama and a Diploma in Opera Studies. He worked for several years in that field with choirs, troupes, television, voice acting and the National Opera of Greece. He has also worked in various posts in the book industry. In 2007 he began working for the Hellenic Bible Society as Sales and Communications Manager. Since 2019 he has been working for the Global Mission Team of the United Bible Societies and currently is the Head of Member Relations - Europe. His love for continuing education includes a Certificate in Theology and Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary and a number of Certificates in Leadership, Intercultural Intelligence, Systematic Church Relations, Strategic Planning, Budgeting, Importance of social media etc. He has served on the Boards of the Hellenic Actors Union (General Secretary and Executive of International Affairs) and of the National Theatre of Northern Greece (Member). He is married to Katerina, a midwife (MSc) who volunteers at refugee projects and has two grown-up children.