New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram hosted the third annual Shop with a Saint on Monday, granting 25 children a shopping spree with him, some of his teammates, Saintsations, Gumbo, and Sir Saint. Each child was given a $100 Academy Sports Outdoors gift card to shop and they had free reign of the entire Harahan location. Many children chose bikes and shoes while others picked clothing, toys, and even Saints gear.
The children were jumping and cheering as they were greeted and paired with a Saints player. Many of the kids were speechless when they got to walk around with their NFL heroes as Ingram was joined by fellow running back Darren Sproles, wide receivers Nick Toon, Kenny Stills and Lance Moore, fullback Jed Collins, defensive end Cameron Jordan and linebacker Kevin Reddick.
"If I had one of the people I admired growing up show me around and give me a couple of presents, that alone would definitely make for a memorable Christmas," Collins said.
"It's about opening up the world to these kids," Jordan said.
The children were chosen by Ingram's the Mark Ingram Foundation, which commits to enhancing the health, education, and welfare of underprivileged children across the United States, particularly those challenged by the absence of an incarcerated parent.
"People have lots of different kinds of foundations. I wanted to do something that has affected me in my life," Ingram said. "My father is incarcerated, so I know how hard it can be. But my father and I still talk all the time."
Ingram told the children to continue to stay positive and never let adversity take a toll on your dreams.
"I want to help them by showing them how to be positive and keeping a good head on their shoulders," Ingram said. "I want these kids to know that they don't have to be a statistic."
The Big BENefit
Saints tight end Benjamin Watson and his foundation One More hosted "The Big BENefit" 2013 on Monday afternoon.
Twenty-five families from the New Orleans Family Justice Center gathered at a local Walmart Supercenter to participate in a $350 holiday shopping spree.
"The whole purpose of this event, the Big BENefit is providing a Christmas shopping spree for some deserving families, families who may not be expecting anything this Christmas," Watson said. "We've worked with New Orleans Family Justice Center to get these families to come out tonight and shop for gifts for their families."
About One More: One More is devoted to spreading the love and hope of Christ to One More soul by meeting real needs, promoting education and providing enrichment opportunities through charitable initiatives and partnerships.
About New Orleans Family Justice: New Orleans Family Justice Center is a partnership of agencies dedicated to ending family violence, child abuse, sexual assault and stalking through prevention and coordinated response by providing comprehensive client-centered, empowerment services in a single location.
Copeland's Kids Club Camp with Lance Moore
Saints wide receiver Lance Moore hosted the Copeland's and Saints Football Camp at the team's practice facility for members of the Copeland's Kids Club. Attendees were able to participate in football drills and activities and receive autographs from the Super Bowl winning pass-catcher.
The Ben Grubbs Foundation' shopping spree
The Ben Grubbs Foundation teamed up with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana and hosted a group of children for a shopping spree at Toys 'R' Us in Metairie.
Grubbs, Terron Armstead, Jahri Evans, Bryce Harris, Senio Kelemete, Marcel Jones, Tim Lelito and Pierre Thomas hosted 20 children from the Boy and Girls Club and each kid received a $100 gift card.
The Ben Grubbs Foundation has existed since 2009 partnering with youth centers, youth sports leagues, through events such as his Celebrity softball game and Holiday drives