Jazz Festival and Crawfish Festival have always held a special place in our hearts not solely because of the music but also because they have become a family affair.
Our hearts melted when we heard Louisiana was still suffering immensely from the flooding this past year. We reached out to Michael Arnone, founder of Crawfish Festival and native to Louisiana asking how best to do our part in helping those affected. We suggested collaborating for our annual coat drive at the Newton Theatre and From Good Homes shows and donating the coats to a destination of his choice. He loved the idea because as winter approaches many have nothing warm salvageable from their homes. He decided on Springfield High School in Springfield, Louisiana. We unfortunately knew we wouldn’t be around for the coat drive but luckily our family and friends gathered together to cover shifts and spread the Gypsy Giver love to all the donors.
The first night, December 16th, two multiple time Gypsy Givers, Duke DeGroat and Michael Schopperth (famously known as Noops), teamed up to work at the door. We asked them what their favorite part of the evening was.
Duke: “Favorite part of the night was being a gypsy in your and d3’s honor as it kinda gives you a bit of the feelings that you two probably experience. Many smiles and hugs, peeps asking for you. Mere and Vinnie saw the post and brought a bag full ‘o coats.
Met and made new friend, Noops, we had some fun. THANKS!”
Noops: “My favorite part was seeing people with smiles on their faces running to the box with their jackets knowing they were doing something good. And also mingling with all the older hippie folks that traveled from all over to see the show. Felt great to help and thank you for choosing me to hang out with your Pops.”
The second night, December 17th, our volunteers doubled with our brothers and sisters covering front of the shop. Mike Yodice, Melissa and Kevin Toncic, Kristen Denaro and Chelsea Burris came together and crushed night two. They enjoyed similar feelings about the experience.
Kristen Denaro: “My favorite part of being a Gypsy Giver was feeling closer to you guys but honestly I just always feel better doing stuff for other people. It’s my sunshine during the wintertime blues.”
Mike: “Carrying the slippery box and coats, coats, coats! The night as whole just had a really good rhythm to it.”
Melissa: “It’s a good feeling to know that those less fortunate will be warm this winter. It is always a pleasure to be an honorary GG.”
Kevin: “It really made me take a step back and realize how good some of us do have it. I was out there in a coat and I was freezing. I couldn’t image what it would be like to be there without one.”
They collected the coats from both nights and put them in the car for storage after the concert. Melissa’s trunk could barely shut as it was filled to the brim with everyone’s generosity.
Once I returned home from the West coast Melissa showed up with a trunk full of coats to send off to Springfield High. We couldn’t be more grateful for everyone joining forces from Dawn making the donation box, our families volunteering their time, and generous contributions from around the county. The gypsies were excited to hear that the Duke Agency would cover the shipping costs!
Our favorite part of this special annual event is that it has become a family affair just like Crawfish Fest and Jazz Fest. Our hearts are filled as we feel closer to everyone. We are overjoyed that we have likeminded hearts. We hope everyone had as much fun as we did getting the pictures and videos from the evening and enjoying the good music.
Thank you to our family for your generosity and to those around us for making holidays warmer and filled with some cheer. It has meant the world to us.
Happy Holidays and here’s to a new year filled with making the world a better place by being kind to one another.