Titus and Christina Bartolotta of Huntersville know what it’s like to grow up in a household with meager means.
Now in a financially stable situation, they spend time supporting people in the community in the hopes of making a difference in their lives. Last spring, despite having a second baby on the way and expenses of a new, larger home, they agreed it was the year to establish a charity that they had discussed during the past few years.
It would help people in need in the Lake Norman area through drives for toys and support items such as food and clothing, said Titus Bartolotta, 29, who is emplyled by KS Audio Video in Cornelius as business development manager. lotta Foundation came to life quickly, he said.
“As a young boy, I understood early on that my single mother worked three jobs because she had to, and not because she wanted to. We were extremely poor,” he said. “My hard working and strong mother reminded me constantly that it is through the blessings and mercy of Almighty God that we are able to have a roof over our heads and food on our table.
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“Helping others is a core value of Christina’s and mine,” he added.
Established as of October, the foundation’s first big project was a toy drive for children under the care of Levine Children’s Hospital. . With assistance from Lotta Foundation board members Vickie and Jack Stevens, Nelson Bynum, Pete Farinas, Ryan Hennigh, David Lautzenheiser, as well as other friends and business owners, this drive yielded 2,500 toys by December.
The couple applied for 501(c)3 nonprofit status as The Lotta Foundation Inc. in October, but the IRS has not granted the status yet.
The next project is a day of fun April 4 during Spring Break for children of low-income families in Huntersville. Lotta Foundation named Blythe Elementary as the 2015 Lotta Food Event beneficiary; 48 percent of children who attend this school qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Assistance program.
The event is for at-risk students, who will receive an invitation.
The event will features games, food, face painting and a goodie bag for each child that include coupons for free bowling and a $50 grocery store coupon.
Foundation Vice President Christina Bartolotta, 32, finance director for Parks Chevrolet in Charlotte, said the foundation will “bring together a community that understands it takes a group effort to change a culture, to change a mentality, to change habits and to help others see the vision.”
Suzanne Fulton is a freelance writer. Have a story for Suzanne? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to help?
Business sponsors are being sought for the Spring Break event. To be a sponsor or to donate a food gift card, visit www.lottafoundation.com/lotta-food.html. Or send a check via mail to P.O Box 159 Huntersville, NC 28070. The deadline to receive gift cards is March 15. For information, email email@example.com.