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LaPlace family looks to feed, warm 200 homeless

LAPLACE — Kindergartner Bella Angotti has participated in her family’s Warm and Feed the Homeless Project each Christmas Eve since she was born, and she’s learned to take an active role in collecting donations for people in need.

This year, John and Jamie Angotti of LaPlace and their daughters Bella, 5, Berkley, 4, and Bevin, 2, plan to feed and warm 200 homeless individuals at the New Orleans Mission.

Bella approached her dance teacher about collecting blankets and asked her mother to draft a letter to St. Joan of Arc Catholic School principal Jeff Montz to start a school wide toiletry drive.

“This is the first year Bella has initiated conversations about this project without any prompting,” Jamie said. “That was impressive for me as a mom. She knows what’s expected and what it takes to make it happen.”

Jamie and John started the project in 2013 to promote the idea that service starts from the crib. That first year, they fed 75 people but had to turn many away, while also learning the homeless population’s needs stretch beyond what a hot meal can provide.

The Angotti family and countless volunteers now pitch in to compile backpacks with blankets, hats, toiletries, first aid materials and protein snacks.

They continue to provide a hot meal each Christmas Eve, and Jamie said the goal this year is to create a more friendly environment with decorated tables and chairs.

“No one will have to sit on the ground to eat,” Angotti said. “We’ll have some Christmas centerpieces, some Christmas music and coloring books for the children. We want to offer them something a little more welcoming and homey.”

Ground beef, mixed vegetables, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic cloves, vegetable broth, diced potatoes, loaves of French bread, Cuties, fruit, bananas (green if received the week before serving), bottled water, Hawaiian Punch lemonade and extra large aluminum pans are still being accepted for the Christmas Eve hot meal.

The following items are being accepted to fill backpacks: new or gently used blankets, adult socks (preferably not ankle socks), plastic spoons and forks, napkins, Styrofoam to-go plates, Styrofoam food bowls with plastic lids, peanut butter crackers, easy-open cans of tuna or Vienna sausage, full-size shampoo, bar soap, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, combs, wash cloths, toilet paper, tampons, Ziplock bags, Band-Aids and alcohol wipes.

According to Angotti, first aid materials minimize infections and ER visits for those without medical insurance.

The Angotti family is also printing fliers with helpful resources for addiction, shelter, job training and spiritual guidance. Monetary donations may be submitted by cash, check or a friends and family PayPal donation to johncvp@hotmail.com.
Donations can be dropped off or mailed to 2112 Augusta Drive in LaPlace.
Visit the Angotti Warm & Feed the Homeless Project on Facebook or contact Jamie at 985-212-4453 or John at 985-212-4133 for more information.