NEW ORLEANS (December 27, 2015)–The New Orleans Saints recognized several outstanding area volunteers for their work in the Gulf South Region by awarding local organizations with $20,000 through the organization's Community Quarterback Awards program. Winners were honored during pregame of today's Saints-Jacksonville Jaguars game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Each year, the Saints and the NFL Foundation (formerly NFL Charities) present the Community Quarterback Awards, recognizing area volunteers who demonstrate leadership, dedication and commitment to improving the community in which they live.
"Today was a special day as we had the opportunity to honor some of our biggest Saints fans who are making a positive impact on the New Orleans and Gulf South communities," said Owner Tom Benson. "We are committed to making a difference in the local community and each year, the Community Quarterback Awards program gives us the opportunity to empower and provide financial support for several local organizations."
John Armstrong, a member of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) was the top winner, receiving a $10,000 grant for the organization. RSVP offers seniors a variety of community service opportunities, giving them the chance to utilize their skills and life experiences to meet critical needs across St. Tammany Parish. In 2014, more than 300 RSVP volunteers provided St. Tammany Parish with 42,000 hours of service.
Both Madeline Bethea (Stuffed With Love) and Jackelyn Gallo (Bring It Home Northshore) were awarded $2,500 grants for their work in the community. Thirteen-year-old Madeline Bethea started Stuffed With Love in 2006, taking gently-used stuffed animals, cleaning them up and donating them to children in need. Since the project started, Bethea has collected, cleaned and given away over 6,000 stuffed animals to nursing home residents, ill children in hospitals, and emergency first responders. Madeline has expanded her project to include younger girls. She accepts girls aged five and up to be on her team where her mantra is, "Even little people can give big!" Gallo is the president of Bring it Home Northshore, who works to provide support for children of deployed military members. Bring It Home Northshore serves Southeast Louisiana and aims to give parents serving overseas a moment of peace knowing that the morale of their children at home is being supported through its organization.
Five organizations also received $1,000 grants: HOPE Ministires of Baton Rouge (Tara Bazille), Youth Run NOLA (Micah Briggs), Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana (Frances Dunn), Magnolia Trace Elementary K-Kids (Casey Fradella) and the American Diabetes Association (Larry Robinson).
Residents of the Gulf South Region who provided volunteer services without any type of compensation for a non-profit organization were eligible to be nominated for the awards. Award winners were selected by a panel of Saints executives.
For more information, please visit www.neworleanssaints.com/community.