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Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021

Holy Angels Takes Flight

Red River Revel 2021 Preview

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Red River Revel 2021 Preview

Annual fundraiser offers a fun new twist

“I grew up under her apron, learning how to cook,” Jessica Comegys said. “She cooked all soul food. She always had a bowl with flour in it, so she could make biscuits at any moment.”

Comegys won’t be making biscuits as part of this year’s Taste fundraiser (online because of Covid guidelines) for Holy Angels. This Shreveport residential facility serves those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. However, she and friend Niema Longstratt will be making and showing you how to make an African-spiced Chickpea Burger with tropical fruit slaw and spicy pickled peppers. It will be served with a cooling cucumber salad and a signature cocktail.

“I feel like we’re going to bring a really unique experience,” Comegys said.

The graduate from Bossier Parish Community College’s culinary program owns Glow Alchemy Kitchen and Caspiana Catering. Longstratt, from Sierra Leone in West Africa, owns a food truck, RNL Cookery Corner. Comegys and Longstratt are two of the chefs who will be teaching cooking classes as part of Taste’s virtual experiences.

“It’s a transfer of love and gratitude to be able to give somebody a gift that they are not necessarily comfortable with or not used to doing at home,” Comegys said. “Giving them the confidence and the tools they need to cook a nourishing meal for their families.”

When you register for any virtual cooking experiences, you will receive a list of ingredients needed to prepare your dish. If you sign up for Comegys and Longstratt’s class, you will have the choice of buying what’s needed from the grocery store or from Comegys’ restaurant.

“We will walk you through how to prep it and how to cook it,” Comegys said. “We want to keep it simple, something you can make at home in 30 minutes or less.”

As part of the virtual experiences, there will also be a Tablescape class and painting and drawing classes.

In a “normal” year, several restaurants would provide a “taste” of what you can enjoy when you go out to eat. This year, to generate business for those restaurants that have supported Holy Angels, coupon books will be for sale. Restaurants and retail stores provide everything from a free dessert with an entrée’s purchase, a percentage off the total amount spent, or a discount when you spend a certain amount.

The coupon books are $75, which has been the cost of a Taste ticket.

Taste is promoted as a festival of food and art. With that in mind, you will be able to bid on art items in a silent auction.

“The silent auction is really the showpiece of Taste,” said event coordinator Audrey Robinson.

Most of the art will have been made by Holy Angels’ residents.

“Our Angel Works program has a ceramic department,” Robinson said. “They have a jewelry department. They have painting. They have sewing. All of those have pieces that will be in the silent auction.”

And there’s no denying how good a resident feels, knowing someone is going to buy what they made.

“You can see the joy that’s in every piece of artwork that comes out of the Angel Works program,” Robinson said. “The pieces are fun, and they’re bright. (People) will find everything from a seasonal-type item to something that’s more themed. The residents take a lot of pride in working on each piece that’s created. They’re all signed. It’s fun to learn about the resident that created that piece of art.”

Robinson said approximately 85 percent of each dollar generated by Taste would go to resident care.

“This is one of the largest fundraisers we have, and especially because it’s taken place for 40 years, it is well-attended.” Robinson said. “People look forward to it. It’s certainly something that we want to be able to bring to the community in some capacity. Especially with it being the 40th year of the event, we wanted to do something that would be really special.”

Holy Angels began serving residents in 1965. Today, the Ellerbe Road facility serves approximately 185 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The age of residents varies, from newborn to older adults. Most of them are from Louisiana and Texas. However, Holy Angels serves people from more than 15 states.

“Holy Angels receives funding from Medicaid for the services provided,” said Chief Executive Officer Laurie Boswell. “However, Medicaid funding does not cover the level of care provided. Holy Angels experiences an operating shortfall of more than $1 million per year. Most of this shortfall is due to care provided for individuals with significant needs, and/or requiring end-of-life care. Proceeds from Taste provide critical support and help sustain this important mission.”

To learn more about Taste, you may visit www.holyangelstaste.com.

To learn more about Holy Angels, you may visit www.laholyangels.org.

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