NOPD officer spends holidays feeding homemade meals to those who need it most

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NEW ORLEANS(WGNO)-- NOPD officer Shantel Howard is spending her holiday feeding dozens of residents who are transitioning from homelessness.

While off duty, this is the second year in a row the officer has stayed up all night preparing a Thanksgiving day feast for the less fortunate, but the first year she's done it in uniform.

"I've always loved giving back, but this year with all of the negativity in the news about police, I want to bring the community together and show them that we can peacefully co-exist," said Howard.

She also brought her 10-year-old daughter along to teach her the importance of giving back to those less fortunate.

The Rosa F. Keller building is a supportive housing facility that provides on-site caseworkers to residents transitioning out of homelessness, which is about half its tenants. The remaining tenants are renters who meet low-income criteria.

These tenants might not have family to go to, or the means to put on a Thanksgiving Day feast, so for them officer Howard's homemade meal is as good as it gets.

She fried a turkey, whipped up some mashed potatoes, prepared mac and cheese, dressing, and her own unique gravy, and fed the tenants of the Rosa F. Keller Building, which has about 60 units.

Dionne Webb has lived at 2222 Tulane Ave. for the last four years as she transitions into affordable rent.

"These officers are a blessing," she remarked at the feast. "They give us hope that there are good people out there and remind us why we keep fighting to live and get on our feet."