On Sunday, Troy Polamalu will be playing in one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, and his wife, Theodora, will be among those watching in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. But last Tuesday, they were just two young parents at a church dinner, trying to juggle their kids.
As Mrs. Polamalu prepared to speak at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church in Mt. Lebanon, 4-month-old Ephraim fussed in her arms. ("He really needs to eat," her mother reminded her.) Meanwhile, her husband the Steelers safety had given up trying to intercept speedy Paisios, 2, and passed those duties to his father-in-law.
The entire Polamalu family was on hand to support the new Pittsburgh center of FOCUS (Fellowship of Orthodox Christians United to Serve). Mrs. Polamalu, a founding board member of FOCUS North America, said the center that is to open in the Hill District in April will provide food, shelter, job training and other services to the needy, regardless of their religion.
"This center will fill so many needs of people in this city," she said.
Her husband, who corralled both boys long enough for a group photo, said earlier: "For me, [giving] has always either had to do with children or to deal with helping the homeless, because it's something I have dealt with personally."
Homeless veterans are among those the Polamalus are especially eager to serve. FOCUS Pittsburgh's director, Paul Abernathy, is a non-commissioned Army officer and an Iraq War veteran.
The location of the FOCUS Pittsburgh center, the eighth in the country, is not yet set, but Charles Ajalat, founder and chair of FOCUS North America, said he hopes to eventually use the former St. Michael's Orthodox Church in the Hill, the oldest Orthodox church east of the Mississippi (www.focusnorthamerica.org).
First Published February 1, 2011 5:00 AM