New Orleans - On April 20, 2010, a catastrophic oil spill occurred off the Louisiana coast at the Deepwater Horizon. Shortly thereafter, the New Orleans Saints' organization amassed and visited a coastal town to help uplift the spirits of community members directly affected with a pep rally.
As a direct response to the crisis, the Saints' organization, under the direction of Saints owner Tom Benson, formed a fundraising initiative entitled the "Saints' Gulf Coast Relief Fund."
The Saints, who just a few months prior to the oil spill, captured Super Bowl XLIV with a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Moving rapidly, the Saints' offered the unprecedented opportunity for members of the national and international community to purchase raffles tickets for a chance to win a customized championship Super Bowl ring identical to the ones that were presented to the players, coaches and administrative officials.
The ring raffled winner, selected in a random draw, was announced in front of an ESPN nationally televised audience when the Saints played at San Francisco on September 20, 2010. The winner was Christopher S. Lynn, a resident of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
As a direct result of the Saints' efforts, $1,190,500.00 dollars were raised for those directly affected by the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Today marked the final day that each dollar of the nearly $1.2 million dollars raised was distributed.
Today, the Saints' organization distributed the final check totaling $20,000 to the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans for distribution to worthwhile causes. Among the charities that received monies raised were: Greater New Orleans Foundation, the aforementioned Catholic Charities Archdiocese, The Audubon Nature Institute, Bay Area Food Bank, The Brees Dream Foundation and Payton's Play It Forward Foundation. All of these groups in-turn used these funds to directly affect the well-being of numerous local and statewide charities. The total contributions were distributed over the course of the past 14 months.