The Awesome Awards - Nominations

Lindsay Manolakos

Nominated by Christopher Wright
August 18, 2021
Lindsay Manolakos is an incredible woman. Contextually, Lindsay was my 9th grade Algebra teacher and almost 10 years later, and as a student in the last year of my Master’s program, she is still the most impactful person I have ever met in my 22 years of life. Lindsay has always had a knack for creating - in fact, this is where our bond cemented - she created all of the sets for our school plays by hand - with wood and drills, she would lead a team of students to transform any stage into a mystical wonderland - Vampires in Verona? Done. The Goonies? Done. Her love for math translated into an incredible eye for construction - a skill she was certain to keep active during the pandemic. When COVID-19 hit the US, particularly, in New York where Lindsay lived - it was clear this was going to be one of the most difficult moments of our lives. Out of nowhere but the sheer desire in her heart, Lindsay formed what the time was a simple purple box. The idea began after she was biking home with her kids and saw the food lines - they were so much longer than they had ever been before. In this box, Lindsay would place food items, canned meals, bread, etc, and then leave - the idea was that your neighbors could be starving, as many of the world was - and you would never know, so she created this concept: take what you need - and to give what you don’t - the simple, vividly purple box, flourished. Lindsay then named the project; Purple Pantry- and then set out to make another - then another, soon boxes all over Brooklyn began to pop up - Lindsay was quite literally cutting, gluing, forming, and painting purple pantries all over the city. By February over 20 of these pantries existed - simply on lawns across the borough, doing what it needed to; sitting out of sight for those that needed it. The precious concept was funded all out of pocket without a Gofundme for quite some time - and she was sure to provide, not just essentials, not just sustenance - but joy - fruit snacks aren’t exactly the most caloric meal but in the middle of the most dreadful pandemic of our lifetimes when people were being laid off, fired, and unaware of where to turn to next, a bag of fruit snacks, especially in a house of full of children can be a sweet comfort when you have to make difficult financial decisions each day.  
 Lindsay is ridiculously selfless - and as an individual who went away to a college of 17,000 people, I find it quite marvelous that after all these years she’s still the best person I’ve ever met - she deserves the world and that I cannot put that into words. Lindsay has two wonderful kids, an incredible partner - she’s also a math wizard, an incredible painter, and the most incredible charitable heart. If anyone deserves recognition - just a little thank you, it's her - it's often the only form of compensation she gets - and for some reason, it fuels her like fire on a winter night.  
 Press Releases Below:  
 A great video: