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Memorable Cookies for a Cause
Created by hospice on 12/13/2010 11:06:56 AM

Ponzio’s sells special cookie to benefit Samaritan Hospice in memory of Jimmy Fifis

Demetrios “Jimmy” Fifis was such a beloved figure in his landmark Cherry Hill restaurant and the South Jersey community that nearly 1000 patrons, elected officials, past and present employees, family and friends came to pay their respects when he lost his battle with lung cancer in August 2007.  Traffic was temporarily halted on busy Route 70 so that the funeral procession could circle his beloved Ponzio’s while every waitress, manager, dishwasher and bus boy left their post for a minute to stand in silence on the front steps to bid their beloved boss a fond farewell.

In 2010, during the entire month of November – National Hospice Month—the Fifis family sold a customized cookie in memory of Jimmy to say thanks to Samaritan

Hospice for its care during his final month and raise awareness about the benefits of hospice care for both patient and family. The cookie sale provided support, awareness and celebration  during Samaritan’s 30th Anniversary Year.

The customized cookies were created by Ponzio’s in the dove shape of the Samaritan Hospice logo. “They are hand-cut, quarter-pound butter cookies dipped in white chocolate and finished with pink glitter sugar in the color of Samaritan’s logo,” said John Fifis. The entire $5 cost of each cookie was donated to support Samaritan’s hospice and palliative care for the community, with a total donation of $5,135.

Jimmy’s son Nick Fifis – who serves as Ponzio’s co-owner with his brother John and John Giambanis – said, “We were a family unaware of the benefits of hospice until we lived it and we’d just like to show our appreciation by helping to get the message out. We were so impressed with the care my dad and the whole family were given. My dad’s care was impeccable and that brought such a sense of peace and relief for us. We learned that hospice care is not just comforting for the patient but for the whole family.”

Brother Chris Fifis, a sales representative with Hardenbergh Insurance Group, agreed. Speaking of his family’s Greek heritage, he said, “Like many close-knit families of European descent, we were hesitant to bring in outsiders, to ask for help in caring for our loved one. But we found that the help that Samaritan brought to our home and then the care my dad received in Samaritan’s in-patient hospice center in Mt. Holly allowed us to focus more on the important things without the stress of having to face it all alone.”

Violetta, Jimmy’s wife of almost 43 years, said, “The people from Samaritan were my angels. When we walked into the Inpatient Center, the whole family – even my very young grandchildren -- was so warmly welcomed by the staff. It was like a 1000-pound weight lifted off my shoulders. “

Samaritan Hospice, a community-based not-for-profit hospice, was founded in 1980 as the first hospice to serve South Jersey. Samaritan currently serves more than 500 hospice and palliative patients and families each day in their homes, assisted living residences, nursing homes and hospitals over a five-county region.

The Fifis family encouraged all those who knew and respected their father as well as those who may have received care from Samaritan for their own loved ones to buy the “memorable” cookies for a very good cause.

 “I am proud of this partnership of Ponzio’s and Samaritan Hospice, two long-standing South Jersey organizations,” said Chris Fifis. “Together we are working to get the word out about hospice care and helping our community.”

Pictured above (from left): Nick Fifis, Violetta Fifis, Chris Fifis and John Giambanis