"You can leave knowing you put a smile on peoples' faces today."
The parting words from a Red Cross volunteer as the Pelicans' bus pulled out of the American Red Cross River Center shelter Wednesday aptly summed up the team's day of service. As part of the New Orleans Pelicans and Saints organizations' ongoing efforts to assist the victims of the devastating floods in Louisiana, Pelicans players and coaching staff traveled to Baton Rouge to visit with displaced families.
While at the River Center, players handed out food, played games with the kids and took countless photos with the goal of brightening residents' stay. Team members also handed out Pelicans' gear and signed basketballs for the children in the shelter.
Perhaps no member of the Pelicans' organization understood what these Baton Rouge families were going through more than native Langston Galloway.
"It's been tough. Some of my family was affected by it, my wife's family was affected by it," Galloway said. "So we're just trying to pick up the pieces where we can."
Galloway has spent time on his own working in the local community, volunteering with wife's Sabrina's church and helping their family members clean out his mother-in-law's home that took on water. The guard also facilitated a large donation for the community through the National Basketball Players Association Foundation.
Overall, the message the team wished to leave with the community was one of support, solidarity and assurance.
"It's definitely important to know that the Pelicans are a part of this community. This is the whole state of Louisiana being affected. It's not just Baton Rouge," Galloway said. "We definitely want to be a part of this whole community and continue [to help] throughout this whole year."
Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry reiterated his teams' sentiments.
"We're not just New Orleans' team, but we're Louisiana's team," Gentry said. "We wanted everyone to know we're concerned about them as much as we would be if it was in New Orleans."